Did you know UB40 have sold 70 million records? You may have read last week that despite over 30 years in the music business, American no1’s, world tours and sales of over 70 million records, they are bankrupt!
Now, that is either an awful lot of weed or they have had some very bad financial advice.
I only mention this because there is something about Dubwiser that reminds me of early UB40 and there is a energetic optimism to their sound.
Based in that hotbed of Reggae known as Oxford the band are all well known on the local scene and drummer (and producer) Spider Johnson Etienne (cool name) has worked with the likes of The Mad Professor, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and Madness.
Core band members Jonas, Spider, Malcolm and Tads are joined by a plethora of talented guest musicians on A Crack in Paradise giving the record an eclectic vibe. From harder edge tracks like Power Up, to more traditional numbers such as Cool U Fire and Ride your life like a bicycle, a slice of Jamaican sunshine more authentic than Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae sauce could ever hope to be.
For all their musical positivity, they are not afraid to tackle political subjects, and it is disheartening that in 2011 songs still need to be written about racism, as is the case of ‘A Racist (stays the same)’.
Although I’m not an expert, I used to love a lot of reggae (Burning spear, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, BM) but during the 90’s and noughties a lot of new artists tried to move the music forward, and it seemed to go a bit electronic and soulless, pushing me away from the genre. On ‘A Crack in Paradise’, Dubwiser manage to embrace the past while still keeping things fresh, and it’s great to hear a band playing Reggae music with heart and passion.
I don’t know if they’ll ever sell 70 million records, but if they do I hope they either have a good manager or grow their own.