Brazilian reggae-dub outfit Digitaldubs has released three previous albums in its native country, but #1 marks the band’s first international release on legendary dub label ROIR. The ROIR imprint, however, can’t mask that while this is a fairly adequate dub album, it’s hardly worth much more than that. For all that Digitaldubs is proclaimed as the great dub hope from Brazil, the music has almost no Brazilian influence in it whatsoever. There’s one tiny bossa nova guitar lick buried here, but apart from that, there’s not one samba rhythm, nor even a reference to Carnaval. This is a reggae-dub album, plain and simple, and it’s not a particularly imaginative one either. The rhythms are all fairly pedestrian and the production is flat and uninspired; this is not exactly going to make you set aside your U-Roy records. There are vocals by Ranking Joe, Earl Sixteen, and Aswad’s Brinsley Ford, amongst others, but these are nothing to get excited about. Earl Sixteen’s “Pirate’s Game” is a fairly nondescript anthem for social equality while Brinsley Ford’s “Your Love is Overdub” is an equally second-rate love song. At least there are a couple of tracks sung in Portuguese, as a way to remind listeners that this isn’t just another middling Jamaican or British dub act. Then again, mediocrity of this type is universal regardless of country of origin.
// Notes from the Road
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