The Dub Pistols Keep the Party Going Strong
If you’re into reggae, you probably already know that the Dub Pistols have a new album, Worshipping the Dollar, out this month, which they’re touring across Europe this summer. It’s a roadmap of where reggae is at, midway through 2012. A parade of dancehall artists give a shout out to the Dub Pistols massive over a mix of organic grooves mingling with techy blips and beats. It’s roots, and dancehall, and dub all blended together, plus one track that’s straight-up hip-hop, and the brisk opening cut, which has a techno beat. Slinky organ, twin trombones, swooshy white noise, ominously echoey electric piano, sly outer-space effects and crispy low Sly & the Family Stone clavinova shift in and out of the mix over an unexpected exchange of riddims.
The hardest-hitting track here is West End Story, featuring Akala & Dan Bowskill. Over an intricately layered psychedelic ska backdrop, the lyricists deliver a cynical look at how “the world’s one big slave ship…while most of humanity lives in abject poverty by design, is that not insanity? There is no flag that’s large enough to wrap around the horror…” The funniest song is Mucky Weekend, featuring Rodney P: seriously, how many drugs can this guy possibly do in a single night in the club? He never gets to explain how it ends. The last we see of him, he’s burning up the highway in the rain, high on coke, girl asleep in the backseat of his car with the cops in hot pursuit. Bang Bang, featuring Kitten & the Hip is a murder anthem with Ghost Town-style noir organ. After that, there’s Rub a Dub, a sex joint featuring Darrison, Sir Real and Bowskill; the weedhead dancehall anthem New Skank with TK Lawrence and Bowskill again and then the absolutely bizarre Rock Steady, with Rodney P explaining that “I’ve got more fiddles than the London Philharmonic.” They’ve also got a handful of 90s style shuffling gangsta dancehall numbers, and wrap up the album with an oscillating, spiraling dub tune. If you imagine a pungent skunky smell while hearing this, it seems to be intentional: it’s a soundtrack for your party this summer.