DUB ZOO – Strange Times
Back at the end of November (2022), I was approached by a PR firm regarding possibly reviewing a new LP, Strange Times, from DUB ZOO, an Australian musical collective that combines their love of reggae-influenced rocksteady rhythms and progressive dub into a formula that is all their own. Vodka answered in the affirmative, that I’d like to review this very much, requested some additional information, which was never received, and then went on vacation for four weeks. After multiple requests with no information forthcoming, Vodka decided to offer the title track of the LP instead, leave some generalized comments on the LP, and leave it at that. I loved this music! It appears to be available mostly on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Personally, I prefer to be able to purchase a copy of any LP that catches my fancy, in CD form (old school, I realize), or at worst, digitally from bandcamp.com or similar sites. While DUB ZOO does have a bandcamp.com site, it includes their previous live LPs, Space Madness (2018), and Solstice Roots (2019). It’s a shame that Strange Times is not there, at least not yet. You can, however, purchase Strange Times in MP3 form from the Amazon Music link.
DUB ZOO is known for its live performances, which I suspect are marvelous. Sidelined by the pandemic from their normal live performance schedule, the band decided to take to the studio to record instead and Strange Times was born. This was the fate of many bands during the height of the pandemic. Some had difficulty adapting, and either went on hiatus or failed outright. Strange Times was DUB ZOO’s attempt to remain relevant and accessible to their fans even while being forced to record in the studio. The results, though, are a great set of music of which the title track here is one.
In the previous outings (Space Madness and Solstice Roots) the band is captured within its live performance improvisations, some of which follow progressive rocks examples with 10 to 16-minute playtime. Strange Times sees the band following a more rigid and traditional time format, with the longest track (the title track seen/heard here) logging in at just under 6 minutes.
Strange Times (the LP) reflects lyrically on the world gone mad, on fire, in a mess, which continues to this day. The band urges their listeners to live for today and revel in their experiences. Musically, the LP is exceptional, keeping to its progressive dub formula, while taking care that production values and engineering are monitored carefully. Make no mistake, this is a hi-fi LP, produced by band members Brad Wenham and Paddy Kiernan, who are careful that nothing is pushed to the absolute top, leaving room for that all-important volume control on your stereo or computer to play a role in the sound.
With ten different, yet cohesive songs on this LP, it’s a great offering for any discerning musical librarian. Pick up or stream your copy now!
You can find more information on DUB ZOO by heading up to their website (social links included).