Arts Entertainment Guide Music — 05 November 2010
SoundBites: Experiment with Black Dub

Black Dubs debut album makes me think of Kindergarten class when Miss DAgostino dispensed paper plates filled with pieces of dried corn, beads, feathers and construction paper: Heres some glue, now get creative.

Black Dubs self-titled disc, and the band itself, are amalgamations of seemingly distant parts a weird fusion thats interesting above all else.  And band founder and legendary producer Daniel Landois (Peter Gabriel, U2, Bob Dylan) is the glue stick holding it all together.

The disregard for convention is kind of ridiculous, really: on one given song you can hear soul, gospel, doo-wop, the blues, reggae and surf music. And its all tied together with a backbone of dub, in some form. And the soulful exhales from Trixie Whitelys lips.

If Landois holds this sound together behind the scenes, Whitelys airy, yet sharp vocals are in charge on stage. Its like she was handpicked by Landois to be the provider for a family of talented but errant musicians. Im pretty sure that without her Black Dub would sound more like a jam session in a shanty town than a studio album (a really good jam session, but still, a little wayward to make sense of).

But fused together, Landois, Whitely, Brian Blade and Daryl Johnson make beautiful music.

Ring the Alarm is a dub-laced mix of rumbling, distorted guitars, drums with reggae sentiments, pulled together with chants of Ring the alarm / Another sound is dying. And then its a free fall into boundless sounds. Think TV on the Radio meets Secret Machines.

Theres an R&B track on this album, maybe two. Surely is Whitelys coming out party. Shes the focus of this track and takes it over with her just-plain-large voice. Guitars with reverb make the track just messy enough to be cool.

Catchiest song on the album: Nomad. The hook, soulful and simple, will get you. So will a dark and cold guitar solo at the bridge. This track has a religious, reach-for-the-heavens element to it until that point, when the guitar covers Whitelys angel voice with a leather Harley Davidson jacket.

When its all said and done, Black Dub is a perfectly messy experiment. And it cant be explained with words; only your ears will understand this language. So disregard everything you just read and go be experimental.

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Alexandria Times Staff

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