Brain Damage Burning Before Sunset

For more than a decade, French dub crew Brain Damage have persisted in pushing forward with their sui generis dub while evolving a very experimental, yet hypnotic, sound of their own. Their latest album finds vocalist Black Sifichi as a full member in the studio. His super-villain-toned, gravelly recitations combine beat and dub poetry styles to mesmerizing effect. Sifichi occupies just enough of the spotlight as needed, otherwise letting the band build up and break down grooves at their own pace. The band continue to make dub that would appeal to Krautrock fans, with obsessively steady drumming, elliptical bass lines and a great degree of sonic variety, especially in the gauzy textures of echo throughout. The album flows like a suite and highlights are hard to pinpoint (although the post-punk-ish "Don't Ask Me Why" would arm-wrestle M.I.A.'s "Born Free" into submission), perhaps that is a deficiency compared to their still definitive dub poetry concept album, Spoken Dub Manifesto. On the other hand, this is still a fine release with no weak spots and a continued refinement and redefinition of dub for the 21st century. (Jarring Effects)