Hailing from West London via Madchester, the Dub Pistols fire a hip-hop fueled bullet into the frazzled heart of dub, techno and reggae. Having (narrowly) survived the “big beat backlash” of the late ’90s (thank you very much Fatboy Slim), they have since returned with an even bigger dub influence and a slew of contributors on their third full-length. While Speakers and Tweeters often enough sounds like it could have been recorded in Barbados as it does Britain, there is something unmistakably urbane in the shuddering temerity of this collection of block-rocking beats.
Ex-Specials singer Terry Hall makes a well-met appearance on several tracks, including a cover of Blondie’s “Rapture” and a reprise of his former band’s own single, “Gangsters.” The former, its glitzy sheen even more disco-ready than the original, is an early standout, while the latter gels the Pistols’ tendency to tell of their more obvious ska-punk roots. Here and throughout, Speakers and Tweeters demonstrates a seamless stylistic shift that allows them to pass freely from hip-hop to dub to punk and back again without batting eyes.
Opener “Speed of Light” employs a sample of ghostly trumpet washes, buoyant and airy, over the group name-checking of featured vocalist Blade. As auspicious an introduction as it seems, the rest of the album mostly withstands the promise of its initial transcendence. The dub-throb of “Open,” with an impossibly flexible bass line and stolen Happy Mondays guitar riff, is smile inducing as the summer sun. Paired with the rustic reggae of “You’ll Never Find,” the album soon transforms into a backyard barbeque
Overlooking the slight misogyny of bumbling “Peaches” and straight club-bounce of “Cruise Control,” Dub Pistols have produced an intriguing genre-mash that’s frankly,
refreshing. Sizzling just in time for the upcoming summer months, this album is set to pop like a blast of gunpowder.
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