Aram Lee Citizen Sound

The latest development from the dub-wise Version Xcursion camp is Citizen Sound, which pairs producer Aram Lee with various vocalists. It's a pop-friendly, but quite finely detailed, listen throughout, combining vocal approaches ― from R&B to dancehall to a touch of punk snarl ― to keep things fresh. The best tracks feature Ammoye, whose album is due later this year. She adds sassy soul to the killer bass line of "Trouble" and a more angelic accompaniment to the Eek-A-Mouse update, "Wa Do Dub." The sweet, jazzy sax of Juno-winner Richard Underhill contributes greatly here and in "Riddim Culture." Sometimes, the beats of Lee's productions are a bit cluttered, as with leadoff single "Reggae Is Her Name," which is overlong and wordy. "Come What May," by Treson, barely rises above its AOR signifiers, with an almost power-ballad feel elevated by big beats and typically excellent vocals. This is a very enjoyable listen and demonstrative of an identifiably Toronto dub sound that's both melodic and tough for the dance floor. (Independent)