Dub Syndicate Acres Of Space

This is the first album in three years from the long-running Dub Syndicate. Originally forming in the late '70s as the Roots Radics, they were the very essence of early '80s dancehall and dub. Their parallel career as the Dub Syndicate was initiated through their association with Prince Far I's London producer Adrian Sherwood. Their records of that era are full of demanding and haunting rhythms, with Sherwood's musique concrete dub effects. They were one of the few performing dub bands in the '80s and have kept a steady pace since then. Lately, they've added vocalists to their sound. Two of Jamaica's finest, in fact: Capleton and Luciano. Both their cuts bring back happy memories of On-U Sound's Singers and Players, where they worked with legendary vocalists of an earlier generation to create unique tracks. Sherwood's main contribution is a mature, spacious mix befitting the album title. Sweetening up the grooves are some deft string touches and harmonica reminiscent of Big Youth, who makes an appearance here as well. Sherwood and the Dub Syndicate will never likely be as avant-garde as their '80s work, but fortunately Acres of Space isn't as half-baked as some of their '90s material. Not a major achievement by their considerable standards, but a very solid album. (Lion & Roots)