Inspired by the likes of the Chemical Brothers, British promoter/producer Barry Ashworth got into the act himself, becoming a big-beat DJ in the mid-'90s. His Dub Pistols collective debuted in 1996, blending techno-rock, hip-hop, and reggae in a fresh potent stew. The full-length Point Blank appeared in 1998, and the Dub Pistols' second disc was scheduled for release the week after September 11, 2001. But certain lyrics on Six Million Ways to Live were deemed inappropriate by Geffen Records in the politicized post-tragedy trauma.
Thanks to a new deal with V2, Ashworth's next delicious batch is finally available -- and well worth the wait. Lyrics on the deep dub track "World Gone Crazy," delivered by Jamaican legend Horace Andy, may have sparked the flap: "Terrorists throughout the land, try to make me understand/Making your point, by killing an innocent man." A syncopated ska guitar riff and horns anchor "Problem Is," its world-weary words sung in the silky baritone of Terry Hall (née the Specials). Plaintive guitar picking and sad strings counterbalance the quick-tongued members of New York crew Sight Beyond Light on the melancholy yet optimistic title track: "Six million ways to live lavish/Beyond all the misery and mathematics... still livin', still chillin'..." An ominous rap by Planet Asia (Cali Agent) drives the stellar "Soldiers," its legato horns and orchestral synths punctuating a skanky guitar strum. The catchy guitar romp "Official Chemical" and atmospheric acid-jazz of "3 a.m." round out the disc, proving again Ashworth's ability to meld an array of ingredients into something highly palatable.