Thursday, 14 May 2009

Dub Pistols - Rum and Coke (Sunday Best 2009)

Dub Pistols are an interesting proposition- a collective of dance-orientated dub heads with a love of hip hop. Live, they’re such a good time band, it’s like they were invented for a Saturday late afternoon set as the sun sets and a chilled can of Red Stripe is thrust into your hand and the live trumpets are creating klaxons of joy and unity and the steady thumping beats are pounding your feet into a rhythm. Time and again, this formula, this festival perfect set-up has been near impossible to translate into a studio album that is consistent and carries the oomph and impact of a live version. Unfortunately, I’ve always felt this about Dub Pistols’ albums, and ‘Rum and Coke’ is no exception. On Rob da Bank’s decent Sunday Best label, it’s pretty much a tighter, more honed version of the sound they’re known for. Dance, carnival vibes, Rodney P’s slurred effortlessly brilliant ragga-rap flow, the dub basslines and some tight drum production. With turns from Beats International’s Lindy Layton and Freak Power’s Ashley Slater (on 3 tracks) it feels a little staid in places. The stronger tracks are when the dub fires up the ire and Red Star Lion and Gregory Isaacs bring the vibes allowing Rodders to be the ultimate Riddim Killa, one of the UK’s best MCs and hosts. It’s weaker when it dissolves into acid jazz-esque numbers. Songs like ‘Ganja’ sound immense live and great recorded. ‘Peace of Mind’ is joyous’ and ‘Six Months’ features legend Gregory Isaacs is class, sophisticated and oozing with summery lover’s rock uptop skanking. It’s a shame that the songs that sandwich these pearls are quite mediocre, and sometimes painfully MOR. Dub Pistols bring it live though, and if you want the definitive band experience, chill some Red Stripe and head down to any number of festivals they’ll be at, setting suns perfectly.


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