(official promotional image for Dubtopia)
After a day-long break of listening to bands and artists I am somewhat familiar with, I have returned to something more unknown and of a style I don’t usually immerse myself in – to this end I couldn’t think of anything more fitting than 2017 release, Dubtopia by the relatively recent band: Gentleman’s Dub Club. How many times can one type Dub into five paragraphs? Let’s find out.
As a bassist with nearly nine years of practice and true musical exposure behind me, I think it fair to say I have more than a passing knowledge of Reggae music and many of the genres that stemmed from it. In addition to it being a great way to irritate an obnoxious neighbour, it is a genre that doesn’t seem to stem far from the topics of love, unity and ideals of a positive and caring society. Whilst one can appreciate the optimism of such subject matters, it has always made for a lack of topical diversity which has often swayed me from the genre. Too much of a good thing, one might say. For better or worse, this album remains true to these ideals and topics, but not to an extent where it can detract from the music – and in these days I appreciate the tribute this pays to its core influences.
Much like the prominent and often droning bass lines prevalent in this kind of music, I believe Dub and Reggae is a genre you feel, as opposed to listen to – and this both makes the album easy and difficult to recommend. It can really come down to a matter of if you want something in the background to support a cheerful and social environment or if you want to irritate somebody several floors from you. People with an interest in hearing something original or creative likely wouldn’t derive much from this album because there’s nothing new to discover, but for many that is part of the appeal. We all gravitate to things we understand and find comfort in, and this album welcomes this with open arms.
(photo taken from Dubtopia official Facebook page, credits to @jazzablanca and @Sife Elamine)
With all this said, I must say it’s particularly difficult to discuss this album. We all know what Reggae is, and Dub doesn’t stray far from this – with the main difference being a drastic increase of overlays, sound effects and production quality, so what more can I say? The album feels wonderful to listen to and have on around you and it is so easy to recommend it on that basis alone, however, as a musician and a lover of music, I can freely admit that the album doesn’t have anything truly its own to offer a listener. Tracks such as Higher Ground and the opening tracks, Dancing in the Breeze and Let a Little Love serve as fantastic ambassadors to the genre and I could easily suggest it to somebody who wants to discover Reggae and wants an entry point that varies from some of the more well-recognised Reggae icons, such as Bob Marley.
So there we have it! It’s Dub. You know what this is, what to expect and if you’re likely to like it or not. I’d suggest giving it a listen and letting this into your heart a little because it represents so much of the greatness of human spirit and wears positivity in abundance, but at a minor cost of true musical creativity and originality. Nevertheless, it still makes for a fun, if repetitive, listen and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It kept me swaying and bobbing throughout – which, as a rigid, Cornish geek who dances like dry spaghetti, should carry a lot of weight.