Fat Freddy's Drop Blackbird

Fat Freddy's Drop Blackbird
7
In their home country of New Zealand, Fat Freddy's Drop have been recognized as one of the best dub reggae acts of the new millennium. It's this level of hard-earned notoriety that makes Blackbird, their third full-length, such a daring move forward. Working off of tightly-forged grooves and upstroke rhythms, the Wellington septet have crafted an album of loose, genre-meandering tracks that both embrace and ignore everything that has made them fan-favourites. On the album's nine soul-bubblers, Fat Freddy's Drop come off slicker and more mature, as tracks like "Clean the House" and "Bones" flirt with pre-Motown R&B and smooth jazz, while the instrumentation allows Dallas Tamaira's charismatic vocals to properly breathe and gestate. Even if Blackbird simply stuck to that formula, the album would have been a success, but Fat Freddy's Drop go on to add dancehall's low-end ("Russia"), jam rock's adventurousness ("Silver & Gold") and dubstep's electro-scatting ("Never Moving"). Blackbird is a triumph for Fat Freddy's Drop; it's an album that comes off as established but still explorative. (The Drop)