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DC Soundclash: Drastics in good measure

Hailing from Chicago, Ill., this is the Drastics third release and is their heaviest dub/roots reggae album to date. The Drastics are a collective of artists that focus on paying tribute to Jamaican dub, roots reggae and improv-jazz.

The album opens up with the spooky grooving "…Strikeback!” and “Waiting” both contain hard edged melodies and impressive solos. “Feast” has a direct influence of the melodica playing of August Pablo also the music has some far eastern influences. The band at times captures a mix of King Tubby, Dave Brubeck and the Revolutionaries. “Famine” is a jazzy-influenced, Tubby-sounding dub that could as well have come from Channel One in the '70s or a New York Jazz club in the '60s.

The Drastics previous albums explore similar territory but this album has the band settling in on their sound. This album finds the band settling in with their own sounds and their own vocalists, Fada Dougou and Zulu (who both show up on their previous albums). Zulu appears first on “Redlight;” he has a thick dancehall delivery, similar to a rootsier Bounty Killer. Fada Dougou is more of a singer, and this is showcased on “Good Time Tonight,” a soulful reggae groove – think Al Green meets Dennis Brown.

“Egos” is probably the most spacey sounding dub on the whole disc. The album ends with “Still Waiting” another groove improv oriented number with a few tempo changes put in for good measure.

Anthony Abbinanti is the main writer in the group. His main duties include drums, but he also plays melodica, percussion, fender Rhodes and other keys. Wearing many hats, Anthony also produces and engineers the albums.

The Drastics are a band that can entertain the reggae fan, the jazz fan, and everyone in between – and this album is an example of when Jamaican music is given the proper treatment by talented and knowledgeable musicians. And the only thing you will be waiting for after a listen to this will be for the Drastics to release another top notch album such as this.

Bobby Bobson

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The Drastics

Jump Up, 2007