Easy Star All Stars
Easy Star Records
September 1, 2006

Track list
  1. Airbag feat. Horace Andy
  2. Paranoid Android feat. Kirsty Rock
  3. Subterranean Homesick Alien feat. Junior Jazz
  4. Exit Music (For A Film) feat. Sugar Minott
  5. Let Down feat. Toots & The Maytals
  6. Karma Police feat. Citizen Cope
  7. Fitter Happier feat. Menny More
  8. Electioneering feat. Morgan Heritage
  9. Climbing Up The Walls feat. Tamar-kali
  10. No Surprises feat. The Meditations
  11. Lucky feat. Frankie Paul
  12. The Tourist feat. Israel Vibration - Skelly Vibe
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
"Radiodread" is NYC's Easy Star All Stars follow-up to their 2003 cultalbum "Dub Side Of The Moon", their critically acclaimed and commercially successful adaptation of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" 30 years after that was released. The one album Easy Star's Len Oppenheimer, Eric Smith & Easy Star All Stars multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer Michael Goldwasser couldn't get out of their head when the question 'what album are you tackling next?' was plaguing them again, even after looking at about every album making the Billboard charts over the last 40 years, it was clear to them "OK Computer". The third album by English band Radiohead, released in the summer of 1997 to immense acclaim and eventually, worldwide commercial success. "OK Computer" put the group at the forefront of modern rock, though it departed from the style as then popular, laying the groundwork for the band's future experimentation with sound. It is widely considered Radiohead's best work, and has also been praised for summing up its era, often cited in lists as a landmark record of the 1990s, and still reaping awards at any list produced by listeners or critics of best and/or most influential album of the last ten years. Radiohead has been touted as the true bearers of Pink Floyd's legacy, coming full circle in a way as most adequate new project for the Easy Star All Stars. Michael Goldwasser (a.k.a. Michael G) and Victor Axelrod (a.k.a. Ticklah) form the core of the group that has provided the music and arrangements for all of Easy Star Recordsí original productions since 1997. The other musical mainstay is Victor Rice, who has played and recorded with a wide range of projects, from his own Victor Rice Octet to work on albums by Everlast, Glenn Branca, the Slackers, the Scofflaws, the New York Ska Jazz Ensemble, and the Stubborn All-Stars. Several more than experienced musicians join in, most of them already featured on "Dub Side Of The Moon" as well, such as Burning Brass saxophonist Jenny Hill; Tamar-Kali, who has been singing solo and in New York bands since the mid-nineties and singer Menny More; Junior Jazz on guitar; Eddie Ocampo, who has played with the Victor Rice Octet and the Stubborn All-Stars; Scofflaws and Toasters trombonist Buford O'Sullivan; veteran reggae bassist Wayne Wiggum, who has most recently played as a member of Roots Combination. And while their musical contribution should not be underestimated, not at all I would say, it's been the extremely good choice of great (almost all) reggae vocalists that lifts this CD beyond expectation. Horace Andy's take on album-opener "Airbag" is one of the real standout tracks on this as a whole very impressive album, as he reaches the same heights he has reached in his best tracks with Massive Attack, surpassing Radiohead's Thom Yorke original vocal delivery, in an arrangement staying pretty close to the original (contrary to "Dub Side Of The Moon" many guitar riffs stayed intact, instead of being replaced by horns, but where the horns replace the guitars, it's sheer magic as well). "Paranoid Android", a reference to the depressed robot Marvin from Douglas Adams's "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", is an amalgamation of three songs (an inspiration from The Beatles song - Happiness Is A Warm Gun, where 3 songs are similarly blended together), and in an earlier form ended with a long organ solo. Here the Easy Star All Stars start the tune with an almost Cuban sounding guitar and Kirsty Rock's female voice is the brilliant choice to stay close to Thom Yorke's original vocals, with the horns by Buford O'Sullivan and Pam Fleming's trumpet being so magnificent it's almost unbelievable. "Subterranean Homesick Alien" is a play on the title of Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues", here giving a chance to Junior Jazz to show his singing is impressive as his skills on guitars, in an as gloomy but less doomy version of the tune. "Exit Music (For A Film)" is a very impressive tune because of both the excellent instrumental classic reggae adaptation and Sugar Minott's great delivery, followed by Toots & The Maytals joyous gospel-influenced take on "Let Down" that even Thom Yorke has publicly admitted being very fond of. "Karma Police" was for a non-rock-music listener like me even in Radiohead's own version a great ballad, but the excellent version delivered by Clarence Greenwood a.k.a. Citizen Cope, whose folk-soul-hip hop blend from his own band shines through in his delivery of this altered but great version of the tune. "Fitter Happier" becomes a great dub poetry track with Menny More's delivery giving the tune a much more commanding tone than the computer voice lamenting in the original. The guitar noise of the Radiohead's "Electioneering" is transformed into a beautiful avant-garde nu-roots tune by Morgan Heritage, completely different from the original, but well executed. Tamar-kali is as convincing on her take on "Climbing Up The Walls" although some of the scary atmosphere the original has is lost, before The Meditations deliver a more up-tempo version of the weary "No Surprises" that is a big and very welcome surprise. "Lucky" is Frankie Paul's absolutely masterful take on this tune, that belongs to the standout tracks, imposing the same level of claustrophobia on the listener as Thom Yorke in the original. "Tourist" is a fine tune, but in my opinion Israel Vibration's Skelly Vibe's attempt is the least impressive on this album, the bonus dubs however "Exit Music (For A Dub)" and especially "An Airbag Saved My Dub" are superb and a great way to close this very successful re-invention of "OK Computer". And although the atmosphere of the original album at times is clearly there, the live reggae feel is so obvious, the sleeve notes could have done without the assurance that no samples from "OK Computer" (or anywhere else) were used in the recording of this album. Very interesting album for those who liked "Dub Side Of The Moon", Radiohead fans, experimental reggae enthusiasts and all others curious enough to give it a listen. And though many have argued differently, in my opinion no less successful than "Dark Side Of The Moon".