New Heavy – Dub Trio
Dub Trio have not picked a simple mission. In the '60s, the architects of dub created a new form of psychedelic dance music which put power in the hands of people who knew the powers of the mixing board, rather than leaving it with those who could play instruments. Now, the members of Dub Trio are attempting to do double duty as musicians and mixers.
New Heavy, the Dub Trio’s second CD, reveals that they can achieve many of the same effects as the dub pioneers. The only issue is that, on CD, their achievement seems less remarkable than it would be if you could witness them onstage. Stu Brooks’s bass lines morph in an instant from standard rock patterns to deep, throbbing pulses; Joe Tomino unleashes rapid fills which disappear in a second; at one point the trio even recreates the effect of a tape shifting into dull tones due to azimuth issues. However, you have to imagine the effect of being in the room, witnessing the drum and guitar acrobatics, feeling the low frequencies.
On “Not Alone,” Mike Patton guests on vocals, evoking the pointless punk/metal frenzy which characterized '90s rock in much the same way that pointless classical/metal frenzy characterized '70s rock. Otherwise, the Dub Trio has the disc to itself. Their tendency to start with metal/hardcore riffs, shift into a dub interlude and then let the original riff return becomes repetitive after a while, but they do what they want to do with strength and rhythm. And yetif you disregard the fact of their doing it live, there’s not much here that isn’t also present in the original works of King Tubby or Sly & Robbie, or even in the more adventurous efforts of white followers such as the Police or Public Image Ltd.
The Dub Trio has reclaimed power for musicians which rested in the hands of non-musicians. However, this leaves New Heavy as little more than a souvenir of what is likely an impressive live experience.