Brooklyn's ace dub specialist, Victor Axelrod, of the Easy Star All-Stars, knows a lot about making a solid dub record. As the mastermind behind the highly acclaimed Dub Side of the Moon, a reggae adaptation of Pink Floyd's Darkside of the Moon, Axelrod and his Easy Star comrades breathed life into dub a few years ago and arguably helped the genre reach more mainstream audiences than anyone else in recent memory. Creatively and successwise, Dub Side is a tough act to follow, but Axelrod has a smash of a solo release hitting stores this week — so good that it warms you one minute and gives you the chills right afterward. Producing under his nickname Ticklah, Axelrod seems to be challenging himself on Ticklah vs. Axelrod, his globally dapper new album. The songs here are all smoked-out nods to dub forefathers like King Tubby, Mikey Dread, and Lee "Scratch" Perry, but where those sounds are timeless, Ticklah's is a celebration of the right now. The album features studio work by members of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Easy Star All-Stars, and Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra (all groups that Axelrod used to be a part of) and features the sultry sounds of Vinia Mojica and Mayra Vega, to name just a few singers who lay down vocals on the album. The jam "Rescue Me," featuring Mikey General, is a solid composition with stellar drum and keyboard work. The reworking of Eddie Palmieri's "Si Hecho P'alante" has the sounds of the global south merging into a tight dub groove that's so good, you never want it to end. Buyers, don't hesitate, as this album is roots/rockers done right.
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