Thievery Corporation, Babylon Rewound

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Remix albums aren't news in electronica land, but an old-fashioned dub album — a reggae tradition going back to the '70s where elements from the original arrangement are removed, reverb and additional instrumentation are added, and the rhythm section rules — is still an event outside Jamaica. It's a testimony to Thievery Corporation's compositional and remixing skills that there's enough substance to 2002's The Richest Man in Babylon that its 2004 dub incarnation works at all, much less on its own. The lilting reggae beat of "The State of the Union" is here replaced with a syncopated dancehall rhythm that remains supple and gentle as it snakes around Shinehead's vocal cameo, while the exclusive bonus cut "Truth and Rights" accentuates Thievery Corporation's growing global awareness with feisty rhymes and rhythmic propulsion. Both prove the Washington, DC, duo have more up their well-tailored sleeves than their lounge lizard image suggests.