We last saw Dub Inc at the peak of their powers with their album “Hors Contrôle” which sent a massive shock through the system, dubbing them the leading French reggae band of the last decade. Now, in 2013, they’re back with their fifth album “Paradise” and have risen to being one of most dynamic international bands of this day and age. Over the last five years the group from Saint Etienne have criss-crossed Planet Reggae from Portugal to the United States, from Colombia to India and from Germany to Senegal, exporting their feelings and their musical vibes to over a million fans! Everywhere their reception has been triumphant, and through sheer talent and perseverance, the French crew have become one of the great ambassadors for French reggae abroad.
At the same time, the documentary film Rude Boy Story directed by Kamir Meridja has become a musical milestone and made the combo from Saint Etienne headline news for several months on a tour taking in over a hundred movie theatres.
All of this made us curious to find out more about “Paradise”, the album they’d worked on for two years and that sounded as if it might open a new chapter in the band’s career. The very least we can say is that the result lives up to our expectations. There’s everything that made Dub Inc what they are: inspired and politically engaged lyrics that articulate the questions and doubts of an age and a whole generation, riding on bubbling musical energy and the best possible production. The group has become a musical war machine made up of relentless drum and bass duo Gregory “Zigo” Mavridokaris (drums) and Moritz von Korff (bass), inspired guitarist Jérémie Grégeois, a keyboard master class in the form of Frédéric Peyron and Idir Derdiche, all backed up as usual by Benjamin Jouve (sound engineer). Komlan and Bouchkour are still as powerful on vocals, with Komlan mashing up the dancefloors on one side in his thunderous, husky voice, and Bouchkour’s oriental, lyrical flights as moving as ever on the other.
Dub Inc’s fifth album includes 12 tracks and one dub and is one of the finest autumn releases. “Paradise” switches brilliantly back and forth between reggae, dancehall and world music, each style underscoring a political theme (“Revolution”), chronicles of everyday life (“Better Run”), more introspective tracks (“Paradise”), gritty songs (“Chaque nouvelle page”), and vignettes of a changing world (“Partout dans ce monde”) and a society that’s stuck in a rut (“Enfants du ghetto”). But “Paradise” also offers a whole host of original sounds, especially with Bouchkour increasingly opting to sing in English, which adds an interesting new dimension to the band’s various messages. Throw in a particularly judicious choice of guests (Skarra Mucci, who won a Victoire du Reggae award in 2013 for the Best Dancehall Album and sets light to the track “They Want”; Meta Dia brings a pure vibe to “Enfants du Ghetto”; and Jah Mason gives his all on “Only Love”) and you have a superb reggae album. We can tell you that this new opus is another excellent chapter in the Dub Inc adventure, which is in no risk of ending any time soon. The band is back in orbit, from where the horizon is global but the foundations are still local!
Dub Inc are weaving their magic better than ever and early feedback on the live versions of these tracks shows that the public like what they hear of this new musical odyssey. The Rude Boy Story goes on!
By Sacha Grondreau / reggae.fr