Now I know I gave Dark Was The Night a 10/10 as well so you might be thinking I’m pretty liberal, you’d be wrong though and I’m sure very ashamed at being so presumptuous.
The reason why both of these albums get a 10/10 is, not only do they rock, but they have an overarching concept and theme that unites each song, making the album itself greater than the sum of its parts, especially Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band as it’s a tribute to what is possibly the greatest album of all time Sgt. Pepper’s.
Surprisingly close to the original, this album had me literally dancing in the office when I first heard it, and I’m bobbing in my seat right now. Opening with the original crowd noise sample, this time supplemented by a sneaky bong rip, Easy Star’s version of the classic title track Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band sets the tone for the album, a tone of weed enhancing arm swinging and sing-a-longs.
What’s so amazing about this album is that the Easy Star All Stars have kept religiously close to the music, adding extra vocal harmonies and dub keyboard and guitar in the background which really fill out the sound of the album. I never thought I’d say this, but The Beatles have been matched on this one, as were Pink Floyd and Radiohead with the All Star’s previous two albums Dub Side Of The Moon and Radiodread (OK Computer).
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is one of the standout tracks (again), with the easy pace of the song giving the All Stars free rein to fill in gaps with jangly guitars, funky keyboards and rich vocal overdubs.
A Day In The Life one of the most emotional musical experiences ever recorded, has lost none of it’s power in being refracted through The Easy Star reggae/dub lens, with the witty change of lyrics from ‘woke up fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head,’ to ‘ran my fingers through my dreads,’ highlight the All Stars cheeky tendency to add a little personal touch here and there (the changing of the coin and cash register sample on Money to a hit).
What really gives this album its power is the vocals. The album features some of the most talented vocalists in reggae and dub including Lucaino (who worked with Hermitude on their latest album threads) and that famed Zionistic rapper Matisyahu, and while The Beatles were great singers, this lot do put them to shame in terms of range and versatility.
While with Dub Side Of The Moon the instrumentation was where the reggae aspect was really pronounced, Lonely Hearts Dub Band uses the impressive talents of some of the finest vocalists in the world of reggae to add that smoky Rasta feel to the music, at the same time tapping into the same well of emotion that The Beatles did using a different drill.
I can’t stress how much I’ve enjoyed this album over the past two days, I must have already listened to it over 15 times. If you want to sit around a get really high you couldn’t hope for anything much better than this, especially if you have Dub Side and Radiodread as it makes for a great triple play. You might need to buy ½ an ounce though.
Also they’re playing Manning Bar on Thursday 16th of April and if you have any taste or decency you’ll be there. Seriously come or I’ll have to hurt you or your loved ones, whoever seems less likely to put up a fight.