In the year 2008, one might question the relevancy of reggae and dub on today’s music. When you take a closer look at things, you’d be very surprised at the answer. Sure, artists like Bob Marley and The Clash aren’t around anymore. But others still carry the torch that they brought forth to the mainstream. Tim Armstrong released a reggae-based solo album with The Aggrolites last year. The Bad Brains made an unforeseeable return last year as they released a new album. One of Marley’s sons, Damien, has continued to release music that updates the traditional reggae/dub sound with a more modern, polished, and electronic feel. At the Drive-In offshoot De Facto played around with dub and eventually evolved into The Mars Volta. And then there is Dub Trio, a three-piece outfit from Brooklyn, New York who has experimented with the sounds pioneered by King Tubby.
Another Sound is Dying is Dub Trio’s third full-length and fourth overall release. Since their inception D.P. Holmes (guitars), Stu Brooks (bass), and Joe Tomino (drums) have not only made a name for themselves with this group, but have also collaborated with some of the biggest names in music: Tupac, The Fugees, Mos Def, and Common, among others. So they’re not just some fools messing around.
The album begins with “Not for Nothing,” a twisting venture that aligns most closely with the experimental rock/metal of The Melvins and the post-rock/metal of Isis. There are also aspects of synths and noise tweakings heard throughout the background, which gives the song a unique vibe and hint at their influence from the dub community. “Jog On” follows with this fusion of sounds and the rhythm section really drives this song along with thick basslines and dynamic drumming.
“Bay Vs. Leonard” is really the first song to showcase the band’s dub and reggae influences - the guitar work of Holmes is especially true to form. For the most part these influences are blended in with the band’s sound that they are oftentimes unnoticeable. Dub Trio does experiment with different sounds on the album; “Felicitation” has a mid-section reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky. “Regression Line” is essentially a full-force alternative rock tune - kind of reminded me of Helmet.
If there were one song that really encapsulates the sounds of traditional dub, it would be “Mortar Dub.” The drums really become the focus of the song, while the rest of the instrumentation accents the skills of Tomino.
“No Flag” is the only track here to feature vocals, and they just so happen to be provided by previous collaborator Mike Patton. While their previous collab, “Not Alone,” was a fairly straight-up rock number, this one is a bizarre and brooding concoction up until the chaotic ending.
“The Midnight Rider” and “Safe and Sane” are more of the rock numbers, though the latter does contain a dub-esque bridge section. Dub Trio again returns to that grimy metal/rock sound as they wrap things up on Another Sound is Dying, though, the final song “Funishment” is reminiscent of the mathy noodlings of Battles.
Another Sound in Dying is easily one of the most intriguing listening experiences for me in the past few years. The last time I paid this much attention to the miniscule variations in the music was Fantômas’ Delirium Cordia. What I know of dub is very limited, but this album definitely struck me as very cohesive and strong from start to finish. If you’re a fan of experimental rock, dub, or music that sets out to be unique, I suggest picking up this album.
8.0 / 10
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