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Worshipping the Dollar

Dub Pistols

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Album Review

Over the course of 14 years and four previous albums, the Dub Pistols' recordings have consistently maintained a slew of faithful fans even as they've been given mixed reviews from critics; in addition, their live shows have become "must attend events" rather than merely concerts. Musically, the band has continued to grow their approach to the roots drum'n'bass that is their trademark to include more ambitious sonic and organic textures. Nowhere have they been as relentlessly adventurous as on Worshipping the Dollar. The Dub Pistols showcase a full slate of vocal heavy hitters that include U.K. rapper Rodney P on several tracks, and they run a wild gamut of musical styles. Given the current era of the global economy in crisis, it's no wonder that this set's lyrics are often angry, reflecting the punk aesthetic of their origins. Drum'n'bass drives the first single, "Mucky Weekend," Rodney P's sarcastic paean to hedonism and substance abuse, and features a killer shouted chorus (think the Streets), but it's far from the road map here. Ska horns and reggae, U.K. bass, '70s-style dub, breaks, and hip-hop all collide in this lyrically poignant, punky sonic neighborhood. Opener "Alive" is a crash course in the Dub Pistols' propulsive sound. Introduced by dubwise horns and percussive booms echoing in the distance, Barbados reggae hero Red Star Lion takes the mike dreadwise as the big beat kicks in with popping bassline, Rhodes piano in the backdrop, four-on-the-floor toms, and infectious horns rounding out a socially conscious party anthem. "West End Story," with Akala and Dan Bowskill, is heavy, throbbing, reggae-driven hip-hop. Akala's searing rhymes take center stage above a weave of skanking guitars, muted horns, reedy organ, and bubbling basslines. While the pace is somewhat frenetic throughout, "Bang Bang" is a noirish, soulful reggae tune full of tasty breaks and the smoking vocals of Kitten & the Hip. "New Skank" features T.K. Lawrence and Bowskill anchoring ska and breakbeats with U.K. bass against popping hip-hop. Second single "Countermeasure" lays out crisp hip-hop breaks against horns and a dirty ass funky bassline. Old-school '70s dub collides with modern dancehall riddims in the foreground of "Gunshot" as Darrison toasts above the sound clash. Worshipping the Dollar is a frenetic ride that may use musical history as inspiration, but doesn't get stuck in it. This is a set whose myriad twists and turns are riveting, unexpected, and bracing. It's angry, relevant, and innovative. The Dub Pistols are at a high point here, continuing to evolve even as many of their peers either disappear or become nostalgia acts. ~ Thom Jurek., Rovi

Biography

Formed: 1996 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The ascendancy of big-beat techno with punk rock attitude continued unabated with the Dub Pistols, a lager-swilling quintet headed by ex-club promoter Barry Ashworth and featuring guitarist John King, bassist Jason O'Bryan, programmer Bill Borez, and turntablist Malcolm Wax. Ashworth, who had been turned on to the vibes of Ibiza house in the mid-'80s, began promoting clubs in Britain later in the decade. He went aboveground by 1989 with Deja Vu, a much-loved club night for Madchester bands like Happy...
Full Bio
Worshipping the Dollar, Dub Pistols
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