Easy Star All-Stars, Radiodread

Sarah Tonen

By Sarah Tonen

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Well, it was inevitable. After all, the Easy All-Stars 'previous album, Dub Side of the Moon, which, you guessed it, reinterpreted Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon in dub reggae style, achieved a sort of subterranean ubiquity wherever college students sipped lattes and inhaled kind. In retrospect, it's hardly surprising Dub Side did so well: two great stoner traditions, as it turns out, went great together, with Roger Waters 'queries into the nature of sanity fitting Rasta-centric meditation and the Floyd's rich sonic stretching-out a match for the rubbery bass and echo-laden drums of dub. So why not try the same thing with Dark Side's most obvious successor, Radiohead's 1997 magnum opus, OK Computer?

OK Computer remade as dub, surprisingly well

It turns out that Thom Yorke's dystopianism is every bit as snug a fit as Waters 'what-is-madness? musings. The Easy Dub All-Stars negotiate the nerve-rattling undertow of the OK Computer material deftly, making it more languid without letting things get too slack; the guitars may not be up to Jonny Greenwood's aural-3D arsenal, but the bass and drums 'thick power are the point anyway, and the occasional, low-pitched horn parts work splendidly. The real attraction here, though, is hearing a selection of first-rate vocalists tackle Yorke's melodies. Citizen Cope may sound hopeless rasping through "Karma Police," but Toots and the Maytals turn "Let Down" into a slurring, weirdly party-ready track, Horace Andy's yearning tone gives "Airbag" a surge that matches the original, and the Meditations 'treatment of "No Surprises" makes it sound like a lost roots classic.