Review #128: Gentleman’s Dub Club – The Big Smoke

Artist – Gentleman’s Dub Club
Album – The Big Smoke

Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/3spq5qqA3Xx5U5p91S16SC

Gentleman’s Dub Club are a dub band from Leeds, Uk. The group consists of members Jonathan Scratchley – vocals, Toby Davies – bass/keyboards/vocals, Kola Bello – keyboards/vocals, Matt Roberts – trumpet, Kieren Gallager – alto sax, Nick Tyson – guitar, Niall Lavell – percussion/samples, Tommy Evans – drums and Harry Devenish – engineer. Due to their notoriously energetic live show Gentleman’s Dub Club have gained high profile spots playing festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival and V Fest, as well as supporting influential artists such as The Streets, The Wailers and Roots Manuva. With just 2 E.Ps and 1 debut album out the band are now adding to this with their follow up ‘The Big Smoke’.

As with Gentleman’s Dub Clubs previous work, ‘The Big Smoke’ is another truly authentic dub album, capturing the roots of the old school dub/reggae sound, but with the newer influence of distorted lead guitar and that UK slang/vocal tone taken from Ska bands like The Specials. Instrumentation is pretty much the norm, skanking guitar keeping the off-beat pulse, a grooving rhythm section of drums, bass and percussion (congas, bongos) and a range of lead vocals and backing, diverse in their tone (female/male, white/black) . Also included, which to be expected, is the brass/woodwind section. Mainly made up of trumpet and saxophone these play an integral role in creating the most memorable melodies in each track and producing a larger sound by harmonising the vocal lines. In style this album reminds me a lot of The Skints first album (another up and coming ska group), especially in the intro track ‘Music Is The Girl I Love’, as lyrically it simply follows love, music etc, very typical to this genre. There are verses in each song in which the lyrical focus is expanded on, however the main focus of each song is to repeat the song title and main melody, I feel as a band GDC are trying to embed these songs in your head through “catchyness” rather than substance.

‘The Big Smoke’ is an enjoyable album, full of catchy tracks and has a truly authentic dub/reggae feel. I just feel there isn’t a lot of depth, in a genre that is very deep, made for the love of music.

7/10

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