Thursday, 12 September 2013

REVIEW: Dreadzone - Escapades (Dubwiser Records)

Now 20 years into their career, electro-dub fusionists Dreadzone return with their ninth studio album 'Escapades'. As you'd expect, there are big beats, reggae vibes and sounds that lend themselves to both festival crowds and home speakers (or headphones if you're just an iPod person). Although they like to try out new elements, they do tend to rely and often build on their familiar strengths, something they have always done throughout the last two decades in order to grow and survive for this long. 

Those who find the likes of 'Next Generation' and 'Places' a bit too tame will probably prefer the satisfying snap of 'Man In A Suit' and the confrontational energy of the standout 'Fire In The Dark', a punchy, direct highlight. Equally effective is the brilliant 'Rise Up' which ups the pace with lively breakbeats and a call-to-arms chorus. Founder member Greg Roberts invites his old Big Audio Dynamite bandmate and Clash legend Mick Jones along for some guitar thrashing on the high energy bounce of 'Too Late', which also stretches back to the punk era by sampling the Department S hit 'Is Vic There?'. Elsewhere the dub sounds really come into focus amongst the satisfying ambience of 'Roosevelt high', while early 90's dance flavours run through the less successful 'On My Way', one of the occasional weak moments here. 

So a decent amount of great songs to add to their live set, and an album that will please their fanbase while doing enough to maybe even win them some new admirers. 6.9/10



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