Dub Narcotic Sound System, Boot Party

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Indie rock goes dubadelic, gets down.

What exactly is a boot party? On the evidence, it's one of those late-night after-parties at somebody's house, where everybody's still a little woozy from whatever they imbibed earlier, and already pretty uncoordinated from sleepiness, but committed to keeping their hips moving anyway. The principle behind Calvin Johnson's ad hoc band is applying dub tricks (weird mixing, cranked-up bass and drums, snatches of melodica) to indie-pop songs and rhythms. When everything clicks here, it's sublime (especially on "Ship to Shore," a slow makeout boogie purred by Lois Maffeo, and the rubbery funk jam "Shake-A-Puddin'," on which Johnson mutters a rumbling incantation about bouncing, desserts and demon heads); even when the album wanders off on tangents, the groove is crisp enough to make exhausted twitching on a sofa a lot more fun.