Friday, July 20, 2012

Album Review: Dub Pistols – Worshipping The Dollar (2012)

Over the course of the past 15 years or so, the eclectic London-based collective the Dub Pistols have firmly established themselves as a leading live act throughout the UK and beyond. Their sixth and latest album, Worshipping The Dollar, was released earlier this year.

Effectively the brainchild of club identity Bill Ashworth, the group’s wider family has in the past included Terry Hall of The Specials fame, while the current line-up includes reggae kings Red Star Lion and Dan Bowskill, UK hip hop star Rodney P, Ms Dynamite’s brother Akala, plus regular dub MCs TK and Darrison … among others.

 Worshipping The Dollar is the first album of fresh material since 2009’s Rum & Coke, and its release coincides with a heavy schedule of touring and festival gigs throughout the current Northern hemisphere summer. And just like the group’s live performances – the Dub Pistols were voted the UK’s Best Live Act at DJ Magazine’s 2011 Best of British Awards – the studio album doesn’t disappoint. Just as you would expect from a group equally renowned for its soundtrack work.

I’m not sure if dub hop is an actual musical genre or merely a figment of my fevered imagination, but if it is a genre then the Dub Pistols would surely be considered one of its leading purveyors; this is dub music with a hip hop vibe to it; the various vocalists either toasting inna reggae stylee or rapping in a more conventional sense.

But the beat is mostly about the bass, and despite some heavy subject matter lyrically, this is all about the groove and getting those hips swaying. This is dance music with a slight conscience – most of it focuses on the darkside (politics, poverty), while other parts are rather more throwaway … but it always feels relevant and never fails to get its skank on.

Worshipping The Dollar blends reggae, ska, hip hop, and electronica, the sum of those parts being a fully formed whole, a skip-free listen in one sitting, and more generally the album is a thoroughly enjoyable bass-centric journey into state of the art dub, 2012 style.

Highlights: ‘Alive’ (feat. Red Star Lion), ‘Rub A Dub’ (feat. Darrison, Sir Real, and Dan Bowskill), ‘Countermeasure’, and ‘Give A Little Dub’ (feat. Bunna).

Have a listen …

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