Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Underwater Dub
Sly & Robbie
Groove Attack / Slam
CD
May 5, 2014

Track list
  1. Dictionary
  2. Forward March
  3. French Woman
  4. Spray Belly
  5. Great Wall
  6. Stormy
  7. War Zone
  8. Daphne
  9. Melissa
  10. Thumb Drive
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
It's Sly and Robbie time again! Well, it's been that way for the better part of four decades. "The Riddim Twins" have the uncanny ability to keep the integrity of Reggae Musik alive in every aspect. "Underwater Dub" is their follow-up set to last year's "Blackwood Dub"; a well received excursion that teamed them with Alberto "Bubur" Blackwood. A producer with broad vision and long history with the drum and bass legends. "Underwater Dub" is quite simply their most solid Dub outing of the last decade...

"Blackwood Dub" was great in depth and complexity (reviewed on this site). This new set has the same musicians, engineers and same studios but a completely different approach. A more stripped down treatment of massive riddims with unique results. Sly Dunbar (drum, syndrum) and Robbie Shakespeare (bass) have a legendary roster to build these riddims with. Guitars are licked by Mikey Chung, Rad Byran, Daryl Thompson and Dalton Browne. Keys are bubbled by Robbie Lyn, Franklyn Waul and Lenky Marsden. "Sticky" Thompson is brilliant on percussion and a horn section of Tony Green/Everald Gayle/Hopeton Williams prevails mightily. These legends have been linked together consistently thru the evolution of King's Music; so this Roots formula WORKS. Harry J's and Mixing Lab Studios were wisely utilized and the legendary engineers Delroy Pottinger, Stephen Stewart and Blackwood provide serious magic.

"Dictionary" is a Dub mosaic. It opens with a tight riddim and is expertly stripped down to bare essentials. Before you know what happens, great key and guitar work floats in and out. There's a "Groucho" Smykle essence here; that proved so powerful with early 1980's work. "Forward March" is killer! The emphasis on Robbie's pulsating bass and Sly's detonating rimshots have a Tubby's quality that will leave you breathless. "French Woman" once again strips down the granite riddim to drum and bass backbone and builds effortlessly with faint guitar chops and "underwater Dubbles". Unique track indeed. "Spray Belly" is a standout selection. The horn section gives way to Sly's "Rockers" drumming that changed the direction of Reggae back in the 1970's. Sticky's percussive magic transcends us to ancient times. The production quality keeps the listener throughly engaged. Monster track!!! "Great Wall" is reminscent of Sly & Robbie's work on the 1981 classic "Raiders Of The Lost Dub". Robbie's drawn out basslines and Sly's tasty syndrums are well tight with a trickling of keys and floating guitar work.

"Stormy" is a Dub detonation! Daryl Thompson (whose progressive guitar work with Black Uhuru was fyah) is blazing again here. Combine that with Sticky's Zionesque percussion and hypnotic bass and underwater Dub ripples and you have a musical statement. The dimensions continue with "War Zone"; memories of Sly's percussive drum method and supreme musicianmanship gently caressing Heart and Soul. "Daphne" is beautiful. The "Party Time" riddim is revisited here in full bloom. Sly & Robbie are the best drum and bass section out deh! There's an interwoven Dub distortion here that gives a multi dimensional feel. Memories of Smykle again here. "Melissa" harks back to "Sly-Go-Ville" days, but with a tasty modern touch. Sticky is magic with his musical tools and adds depth to an already ites work. "Thumb Drive" is a thumping bass showcase. Robbie's touch can be gentle or upright cool and deadly. He provides basslines here that are so progressive; it's beyond description. The mixing treatment is stark and Dread and ites from start to finish.

"Underwater Dub" is no waterlogged outing. Sly & Robbie and crew have managed to push the Dub factor again. It's amazing how after being on over 200,000 recordings; their vision and approach is still advancing our beloved music. Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare clearly LOVE what they do and it's obvious on their latest release. The approach of embracing past breakthroughs with modern progression and finding a feasible balance has been achieved here. Ignore this release and you're missing out on a definitive mind, body and soul opener. Highest recommendation. GO DEH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!