Easy Star All-Stars
The concept of a track-for-track reggae version of Radiohead's OK Computer seems like the bong-hit daydreams of a lonesome stoner in a murky dorm room. But thanks to the Easy Star All-Stars (the masterminds behind 2003's Dub Side of the Moon), modern rock's most experimental and introspective band is paid homage by a ragtag amalgamation of Jamaican legends and genre newcomers. A survey of Radiodread's featured artists makes the project seem ill-advised; having the Godfathers of Ska, Toots Hibbert and the Maytals, pump their typical energy into the bleak lament "Let Down" appeared to be a particularly incongruous pairing. Ah, but fret not. Hibbert converts the dirge into a groovy ska anthem and injects the mournful lyrics with soul power. On "Electioneering," Morgan Heritage transforms the song into a super dubby rave-up that keeps the discordant guitars and ambient bleeps intact. Sugar Minott's take on "Exit Music (For a Film)" is as cool and deadly as one might imagine. Menny More reimagines "Fitter Happier" as a militant call to Rastafarian tenets. A few tracks fall flat, though most notably Junior Jazz's "Subterranean Homesick Alien." But overall, these remakes should make Radiohead fans feel more like skanking and lighting a spliff than contemplating life's cruelty and slitting their wrists.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.