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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.
if you are a fan of reggae, radiohead or the easy star all-stars then this album is a must. every song on this album is a standout. very impressive also are paranoid android, let down and lucky. i recommend this album to anybody who is in the mood for some chill music.
Discard the naysayers. This is a solid effort, just like Dub Side.... Enjoy it. Thom Yorke does....
good work as before
As they did with Dub Side of the Moon, this group gets it right again with this album. For a tribute album, they always seem to do a good job. Dub Side was the best possible reggae tribute to Dark Side of the Moon. It was an amazing album in itself. This one is the same way, bringing upbeat tempo, jamming versions of classic tunes Radiohead presented on OK Computer. Couldn't have done it any better. Check out especially "Karma Police," "No Surprises," and "Let Down." Looking forward to their next project.
Years Active: '00s, '10s