Heart Of Dub
Nucleus Roots
May 27, 2006

Track list
  1. Meditation Dub
  2. Mankind Dub
  3. Lie Dem A Dub
  4. Together Dub
  5. Dub It Up Rasta
  6. Dub Rule
  7. Run Come Dub
  8. Dub Slumber
  9. Shoulders To The Dub
  10. People Rise Dub
  11. One Fe De Soundman
  12. Dub Life
  13. Trod To Mount Zion Dub
  14. Fari Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 1
Nucleus Roots are capable, professional musicians and good sound engineers -- The sound on this album is crisp, clean and heavy, the bass lines sinewy and suitably thundering. -- "Dub Rule" and "One Fe De Soundman" have intense bass lines and seriously heavy drum patterns.

A number of tracks on "Heart Of Dub" prove very satisfying on those terms. The production values are commendable, with layered sound and notably strong atmospherics.

But one can't help but feel the album is -- like the vast majority of Euro roots -- highly derivative.

It will please its target audience, no doubt, because there seems to be an inexhaustible audience for recycled "steppers" and "one drop" styles from decades ago -- but really, "Heart Of Dub" features a sound that has barely moved on since around 1986.

This arguably, is the central problem with Euro roots: whilst the artists involved are clearly committed, sincere and skilled musicians, most current Euro reggae sounds stuck -- deeply -- in a rut.

Clearly, radical music like Aswad's "Warrior Charge", Aisha’s "Give It To Creator", Dread and Fred's Shaka tunes and early Disciples music were a landmark in reggae's sound system history, showing that UK could deliver just as hard and creatively as JA -- Anyone who experienced Shaka via his live shows or via his sound tapes in the mid 80's will attest to this undeniable fact.

The only problem is -- that that is precisely, for the most part, where the progression of Euro roots seems to have stopped.

Nucleus Roots are talented artists, who have a finely crafted, tight sound, and their very capable musician ship seems difficult to challenge -- Their heart and soul are clearly in this project, and it seems obvious they love what they are doing.

One can only wish however, that something creative, rather than backward looking was happening in Euro reggae as a whole.

This "Heart Of Dub" album is hard, heavy and dubby in all the "right" places, and will no doubt prove popular amongst European reggae fans on a growing underground sound system scene -- but really, it does so very little to move the genre forwards from circa 1986.