8 Feb 2023
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Dub Asylum - Album Review: Beg, Steel or Borrow

18 Sep 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

I have no idea who many albums I have reviewed over the last 35 years, but it is countless thousands, while the words written are well into the millions, but I must confess this is the first time I have ever been asked to review an album where steel drums are the main instrument, let alone when they are being used to play dub versions of Kiwi classics! The man behind Dub Asylum is Peter McLennan, who formed this project after leaving reggae-thrash-punk-ska outfit Hallelujah Picassos in the Nineties. He has been releasing music under this name since then, although I think this is his first album for a while. Apparently, the concept for this came to Peter when he started wondering if there were any New Zealand songs covered on steel drums and when he could not find any he decided to do his own which has involved him undertaking arrangements for songs by OMC, Herbs, The Clean, The Scavengers, Bic Runga, Screaming Meemees, Sir Dave Dobbyn, and more.

Any Kiwi will recognise these songs as they grew up with them, and while some songs lend themselves better to this treatment than others it is surprising to me just how well they all work. The steel drums often take the vocal line (these are all instrumental), while the arrangements have also now switched into dub. I must confess to not knowing much music featuring steel drums, while dub is not a genre I would normally listen to, so I am not so much lost here as having been transported to a different planet. But, and it is a big “but”, this is incredibly clever and really does work. The opener is one of the two highlights, namely OMC’s How Bizarre which in many ways is the closest in terms of arrangements to the original, and Peter must also be pleased with this as there is a different mix also available which closes the album, bookending it nicely. The other song which stands out is Slice of Heaven, although I must confess I am not sure if that is because it is possibly my favourite Kiwi song of all time. Here he takes the funkiness and reggae of Herbs, blends it with delicate synths, adds percussion and the steels to take something which pays homage to the original, taking it in a new direction. The one which surprised me most is Royals, which has become something incredibly dramatic indeed, with loads of space in the arrangement, and given one cannot imagine the original being treated in this manner it comes across incredibly well.

This will not be to everyone’s tastes, but it is thoroughly enjoyable and well worthy of further investigation to anyone who wants to listen a little outside the box.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )
 

About Dub Asylum

Dub Asylum is the latest musical alias for Peter McLennan, former member of 90s reggae-thrash-punk-ska mutants the Hallelujah Picassos. Dub Asylum is a musical mash-up of dub reggae, hip hop and funk, genres that weigh heavy on Peter's ears. "I like a tune that throws sweet melodies in your earholes and shakes your ass at the same time," he explains.

Dub Asylum continues on with many of the musical elements present in the Picassos sound, taking them on a more electronic bent. Mixing up scratchy old hip hop drum loops and samples with dubbed out guitar and keyboards, Dub Asylum cook it all up in a massive sonic stew that is guaranteed one hundred per cent colesterol-free, and full of your daily vitamin requirements.

Peter was in the Picassos from 1988 til 1995, when he left the band. They released two albums, 'Hateman in Love' and 'Drinking with Judas', an EP and a bunch of singles. Peter also directed several music videos for the Picassos. He has been playing music since high school, starting out in a band called The Worst. "Well, the name was apt", he muses. Hindsight, aint it grand? (The other 2 members of The Worst were Troy Ferguson, now a bFM DJ and music writer, and Jim Abbott, who lives in London these days and plays in The Ghost Club, along with Dave Mitchell and Denise Roughan, ex 3Ds).

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dub Asylum

Releases

She Dubs Me Remix
Year: 2012
Type: EP
Stereo Freeze
Year: 2011
Type: EP
Ba Ba Boom!
Year: 2008
Type: EP
She Dubs Me, She Dubs Me Not
Year: 2002
Type: Album
Dub Never Sleeps
Year: 1999
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge 10th Birthday Part 1 @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 29/01/2023
03 Feb 2023 // by Kev Rowland
The original Ding Dong Lounge was founded in New York City in 2001 by Bill Nolan, opening on the upper west side of Manhattan and slowly gaining a following of talented artists, writers, actors, and musicians. In 2003, Bill Walsh opened Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne, branding itself with a live gig atmosphere that easily upheld Ding Dong’s rock reputation.
Read More...
Beckoned - Single/Video Review: Luminous
01 Feb 2023 // by Kev Rowland
The word “supergroup” is not one to be bandied around lightly, yet that was very much the first thing which came to mind when I came across the new formation of Beckoned. During one of the many lockdowns, guitarist Nail Vincent (Devilskin) started working on new material, and he played some to his old bandmate, bassist Munro Goodwin (Sinate) and pretty soon they were working on the material together with drummer Corey Friedlander (City of Souls,8 Foot Sativa), but who would be the singer?
Read More...
Flying Man - Single Review: Under The Stars
31 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Flying Man is the stage name of Dunedin based Irish-born live-looping guitarist and singer/songwriter Alan Ned Gray. Flying Man’s song-writings sit in the electroacoustic realm - playing programmed beats, live looping and layered harmonies.
Read More...
Crying Club - EP Review: Big Water Bottle
31 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
It is some 18 months since I last reviewed a recording by Crying Club, which was the single Taxi Man, but I did see them at EmoFest last year where three of the songs on this five-track thirteen-minute-long EP were played. While their music is solidly rooted in the indie scene, they manage to also bring in other genres as they cross genres, bringing rock and metal quite strongly into their poppy mix.
Read More...
Gig Review: Midnight Green & Kazia @ The Thirsty Dog, Auckland - 21/01/2022
21 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
After being blasted the previous night at Dead Witch, tonight I was at The Thirsty for what promised to be a very different affair indeed, with two soul/jazz/pop bands. Beforehand I was talking to the bar manager who told me that soon they will be closing for renovations, after which they will open up with the stage in a different place, and it promises to be much improved, so I am really looking forward to seeing the end results.
Read More...
Gig Review: The Rising Tide @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 20/01/2023
20 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Back to Dead Witch tonight for my first time seeing The Rising Tide who were up from Palmerston North in support of their excellent new EP, The Hope We Die For. They had also invited a few other bands who I have seen before, namely Brawler NZHC who I saw supporting Xile, plus favourites Unwanted Subject and Pale Flag who were both at the Downfall of Humanity release show.
Read More...
Gig Review: Music In Parks - Helensville @ Helensville River Reserve, Auckland - 15/01/2023
15 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Each Summer, the Auckland Council put on a series of free outdoor concerts in different places around the city, and today was the second this year, and definitely had a country flavour with Keith Pereira, Louis Jarlov and Sam Bartells. Not only are the shows free, but they all take place in the afternoon, so this gig was set to take place between 1 and 4!
Read More...
Gig Review: Ovus @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 14/01/2023
15 Jan 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Having spent an incredible two weeks at home on South Island, it was now back up to Auckland and it was soon back into the live scene with my first gig at Dead Witch for 2023. Tonight was going to be interesting as I recently reviewed Ovus’s EP, Lucid, and it would be the first time I had seen Afterlight since they changed their name from Antebellum.
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • FLOWERS
    Miley Cyrus
  • KILL BILL
    SZA
  • ESCAPISM.
    RAYE feat. 070 Shake
  • SURE THING
    Miguel
  • UNHOLY
    Sam Smith And Kim Petras
  • PLAYERS
    Coi Leray
  • PEOPLE
    Libianca
  • MADE YOU LOOK
    Meghan Trainor
  • CREEPIN'
    Metro Boomin, The Weeknd And 21 Savage
  • MESSY IN HEAVEN
    venbee And goddard.
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem