Review: ‘Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band’

Easy Star All-Stars, ‘Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band’: Aidin Vaziri | Remember when Rolling Stone said “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was the best album of all time, so you ordered it for a penny from the Columbia House Music Club and listened to it 1,328 times before realizing that it was actually the worst album of all time and Rolling Stone was never to be trusted again? As painful as it might be to expose your ears once again to simpering pop songs such as “Lovely Rita” and “When I’m Sixty-Four,” the awkwardly named New York reggae collective Easy Star All-Stars at least makes the process a little easier by taking out all the useless flugelhorns and Ringos and replacing them with things that people actually like: echoing dub rhythms, bong sound effects and singers with cool names like Sugar Minott and Bunny Rugs. Given the material, the producers who previously rejiggered Radiohead’s “OK Computer” (“Radiodread”) and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” (“Dub Side of the Moon”) make the best of it, transforming the Beatles’ originals into soulful, spaced-out jams – from Luciano’s commanding cover of “With a Little Help From My Friends” to Kirsty Rock’s swinging “She’s Leaving Home” – that feel weighty and weightless at the same time.

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