Fat Freddy's Drop Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW

Maybe being from New Zealand has helped this longstanding reggae/dub crew develop their unique sound. This release was four years in the making, and digs deeply into techno, soul, reggae and dub with equal gusto. Some might throw the J word (Jamiroquai) around as an unfocused insult, meaning a band that explore interests in smooth dance music far removed from their geographic home base, but surely their heads and hearts are in the right place. Joe Dukie's voice is a wonderful, supple and soulful instrument, and even potentially dodgy lyrics sound oh-so-sweet coming from him. When they drop a fairly straightforward reggae tune like "The Raft," they prove they are the equals of any European dub band. Other tracks, like the Maxwell channelling "Big BW" or the Hi Rhythm Section workout that is "Boondigga," use dub more thematically, exploding soul music into outer space. Some tracks walk a fine line between simple and goofy, but with each tune averaging well over six minutes, it's important to focus on process rather than analyze every last second of each song. (The Drop)