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Album Review

When a pair of New York-based musicians (Michael G. and Ticklah) calling themselves the Easy Star All-Stars came out in 2003 with Dub Side of the Moon, an all-reggae interpretation of Pink Floyd's rock monster Dark Side of the Moon, there were no expectations among an audience and thus no reason for skepticism. The album's reputation built steadily and the newly converted — thousands bought the album and talked it up to others — naturally wondered what would come next. After much deliberation, the All-Stars settled on Radiohead's 1997 masterpiece OK Computer, an obvious choice in hindsight (some consider Radiohead a 21st century Floyd), as beloved in its own time (and, undoubtedly, for many years to come) as Dark Side was decades earlier. Still, months before its release, some die-hard Radiohead fans were condemning the idea of Radiodread — not to mention its campy title — how could anyone dare mess with perfection? It was assumed by some that the reggae musicians would turn this monumental work into a parody, or render its often complex structures and moods unlistenable at the least. Turns out they had nothing to fear: the Easy Star All-Stars not only treat OK Computer with the respect it merits, they successfully re-imagine it, creating a work of art that, while it may never earn the over-the-top critical plaudits enjoyed by the source material, should find favor with both Radiohead loyalists and roots reggae purists alike. It couldn't have been easy, but the All-Stars make it sound so. Each tune is reconsidered on its own terms, with guest vocalists — among them reggae giants such as Horace Andy (opener "Airbag"), Morgan Heritage ("Electioneering"), Toots & the Maytals (a very upbeat "Let Down") and Israel Vibration (album-closing "The Tourist") — bringing a personal stamp to each tune. How each of these vocalists chooses to handle Thom Yorke's keening, facile vocals is worth a study in itself — some virtually mimic him while others throw out the mold and come at the material from a completely outsider perspective. Ditto the arrangements: OK Computer's tricky time shifts and layers of electronics and ambient sounds could, in lesser hands, add up to a complete muck-up, but instead Radiodread emerges as its own, quite satisfying entity. It may be sacrilege to even think so, but it's possible that some listeners unable to warm up to Radiohead may even come to prefer this OK Computer from an alternative universe.

Customer Reviews


I love this album... (apologies to Radiohead fans in advance)... but i actually prefer this interpretation of OK COMPUTER to the real thing, not because it's better, but the reggae rythmns seem to glue it all together, and the mnomics of the melody make links (in my head) between both versions. Bloomin' marvellous.

This is truly dread kid!

One'a the best albums in years! I'm tellin you!! I cant get over this. I was goin with this bird years ago when OK computer came out and it was all she listened to. So this album reminds me'a doin this bird, but in a rocksteady style! You feelin me? Scratch.


What can I say about this gem that has not already said by the other reviews. The original was certainly one of my most played albums at one time. This version had bought fresh life to a classic album. Even if you don't like Radiohead you may like this.


Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s, '10s

New York City's Michael G. (born Michael Goldwasser) and Ticklah (born Victor Axelrod) are the two longtime friends who form the Easy Star All-Stars. Goldwasser had been playing guitar with the R&B band Special Request, but after five active years the band broke up. Around this time, the guitarist turned his attention to reggae and formed the Easy Star All-Stars with former Special Request keyboardist Ticklah. Ticklah had been gigging with Cooly's Hot Box, worked with DJ Spinna and Dr. Israel, and...
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by Easy Star All-Stars

Radiodread, Easy Star All-Stars
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Customer Ratings