Easy Star All-Stars Retrospective

It’s a dash of straight reggae dub, followed by a scene of instrumental foreplay, with the reminiscence of a musical memory stored in the archives.

It was the first thought that played in mind when I first chap’d the musical endeavors the Easy Star All-Stars were on. I enjoyed it. It was great to hear some of my favorite albums dubbed into a sound straight outta Kingston.

A few years prior I was given an album that my friends and I cherished, specifically for those nights when we still enjoyed aimlessly driving around suburbia with a spliff in one hand and an interesting comment in the other. Those drives served their purpose, beyond the immediate side effects of course, when one of us would yell out and request, “Dub Side!”, referencing the All-Stars album “Dub Side of the Moon.” A musical innuendo—named after Pink Floyd’s, “Dark Side of the Moon”—which the Easy-Stars dub over in true reggae fashion.

So for years, I was content with Dub Side. I mean seriously, to have a dubbed out version of Pink Floyd, what could be better?

Then I was given the All-Star’s album “RadioDread,” and it all changed. A dubbed version of Radiohead! It really exists? Yes, and with that the All-Stars were on that the perfect musical path. Hasn’t Radiohead been called the Pink Floyd of today? It was fresh and exciting, a complete new outlook on musical endeavors I had never thought possible. Their rendition of “Paranoid Android” absolutely blew my mind, period.

My buzz only got better when Diwon handed me their most recent EP, Until That Day. For a time being I didn’t know if the band could handle producing original material. But, low and behold, something pretty damn catchy came out of the band. It’s a very upbeat album that is best listened to in the early morning, running past a herd of hipsters in the subway station, as you try and take a sip of coffee while searching for that first smoke of the day. When you finally reach your stop, all the sudden the sound of tracks like “Bed of Rose” and “Dubbing up the Wall” blares and the sun beats down into your eyes, and life is good.

I have purposely left out any mention of the Easy Star All-Stars rendition of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” because I believe, and will continue to believe until the bitter end, that it is impossible to accurately remake, cover, or mix that album into anything better than or as beautiful as the original. Though it was pretty amazing to hear Matisyahu crooning “Within You Without You” in true George Harrision style. It gave a spiritual meaning to the song I didn’t hear the first time around.

– Alex Harper


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