Nine man strong reggae outfit Gentleman’s Dub Club released their third album – and second on Easy Star Records – Dubtopia in April. It’s a 13 track set where sweet romance rubs shoulders with scorching dancehall bangers.
They are famous for their vital live performances and this energy has successfully been channeled onto disc. And guest performers like Lady Chann, Taiwan MC, Parly B and Eva Lazarus make sure that Dubtopia is sound system friendly with fierce vocals on a cut like Fire In The Hole.
With its upbeat sound, multi-part horns, sonic wizardry and sweet vocal harmonies Dubtopia is a bona-fide attention-grabber – from the dreamy Your Light via the smooth Dancing In The Breeze to the stomping Taiwan MC combination Take Control.
Popular UK reggae act Gentleman’s Dub Club have partnered with U.S. label Easy Star Records for their new album The Big Smoke, a blazing eleven track set with a powerful horn section.
The album title refers to the band’s relocation from Leeds to London and their experiences from big city life. And with that as a backdrop they are both personal and philosophical with a great dose of energy and excitement.
The sound is deep and raw with monstrous horn riffs and reverberating bass lines, as showcased on the romping-stomping first single Music is the Girl I Love, the catchy Pressure and the uplifting Bad Girl. Those up-tempo blazers rub shoulders with the ambient Afraid of the Dark, the dread Enter the Chamber and the solid saxophone led instrumental Nocturnal.
With the signing of Gentleman’s Dub Club Easy Star Records continues to explore the UK reggae scene – they have also The Skints and Backbeat Soundsystem among their acts – and The Big Smoke shows that it will probably be a fruitful relationship between the UK and the U.S.
U.S. reggae powerhouse Easy Star Records – home to the successful Easy Star All-Stars – latest signing is New York City-based family quartet New Kingston; brothers Stephen Suckarie, Courtney Panton, Jr., Tahir Panton and their father Courtney Panton, Sr.
Kingston City is their third album and follows Kingston University released in 2013, a set that included the Black Uhuru-influenced album opener Life. Their new album is more consistent compared to their previous two sets, but they still manage to combine soulful vocal harmonies and bright melodies with pulsating bass lines.
The album, which hosts twelve tracks, leans heavily towards contemporary European roots reggae, and New Kingston are somewhat rougher compared to some of their U.S. peers. The set opens explosively with the up-tempo Today and the pace is high throughout the first four cuts. Then comes the deep and slow Honorable followed by the beautiful Kimie Miner combination You Are Mine with its infectious chorus and haunting keys.
The album is actually laced with several guest appearances and New Kingston is also joined by Tribal Seeds’ vocalists Maad T-Ray and E.N Young, The Wailing Souls, the late Sugar Minott and Sister Carol graces the 80s sounding Conquer Dem with her signature deejaying.
Kingston City – available everywhere except in Europe where it drops on February 23 – is well-crafted and definitely New Kingston’s best album to date and a strong addition to an otherwise often shallow U.S. reggae scene.