Release Date: 1st February 2018
Label: Plasterer Records
Genre: Reggae r&b-rock
Dub Righters are a rock-reggae trio and are here with their album ‘True Sound Killaz’. Founded in 2013, this London-based band have now added their debut album to their discography, following the release of a live album in 2016 and their EP in 2014.
The opening track, ‘Archway Keith’, combines a slurry ska sound with rough street themes in a rebellionist style against the state of social policy & wellbeing. Then comes ‘Life Is For The Living’ with the faster tempo which serves a heavier tone. Although a little repetitive, the pleading vocals and depressive lyrics exaggerated in the pre-chorus form the overture of melancholy. Irrespective of this though, ‘Life Is For The Living’ resembles something you’d hear in an underground ska-r&B disco.
Opening with a feathered guitar riff ‘Boombox’ begins with an almost trippy sound. Coupled with the progression into rap vocals and a reggae rhythm, this is truly an eclectic sound – it’s like a Jamie T’s r&b rap style with a heavier rock twist.
‘Beat The Bastards’ takes a new turn in the direction of sound for the album with its slower tempo. The vocals don’t lend to the instrumental perhaps as well as they could have, but this is most likely to be a crowd-pleaser live even if it doesn’t really do justice on record. Descending back into the preceding heavier sound, ‘True Sound Killaz’ reinstates the prominence of the stronger drum beat and bass line and the background high-pitch harmonic squeals towards the end. Bound together with the more gentle, feminine backing vocals, this is the stand-out track of the album and is clearly worthy of being the title track too.
However, no sooner than this optimum sound is found, it is then lost again. The two-tone guitar line for the chorus of ‘Deathbed Regrets’ is catchy and brings back the reggae rhythm again, but the song is laced with air horn sound effects which blind anything else in the song as simply an outdated meme.
Rounding off the album comes ‘Black Coffee’ in a stripped back cliché ending. Although cliché, this is not unwelcomed as (unlike ‘Beat The Bastards’) the vocals do soften somewhat to match the instrumental, almost to the point that they are drowned out towards the climax though. However, seeing as this isn’t an issue for the first two-thirds of the song, it is evident this is more of a mixing issue than a performance one.
Overall, ‘True Sound Killaz’ is a promising album for the London trio. In a style not dissimilar to up-and-coming hip-hop rapper Rat Boy, the lax tone and bordering-merde lyrics successfully depict a real-life place you would want to evade. Despite still sounding like a new-kid-on-the-block type of band, their unbranded sound shows a lot of potential if Dub Righters can refine and hone in on the slop-rock-ska sound that they can execute so well. As a whole, the first two-thirds of the album are much better than the later third, so perhaps this would have been delivered better as another EP rather than an album as this does present an album that could have benefited from a little more time in the writing and mixing stages of production.
Recommended Track: True Sound Killaz
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Want to check out Dub Righters for yourself? Catch them on tour this month at the following dates:
14/03 – Peterborough, The Ostrich Inn
15/03 – Norwich, Gringos Mexican Tequila Bar
16/03 – Hastings, The Palace
17/03 – Swansea, Creature Sounds
22/03 – Bideford, The Palladium Club
23/03 – Leeds, Temple of Boom
24/03 – Bristol, The Plough