Yellow Dubmarine

Abbey Dub: Reggae Beatles Tribute

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This whole concept began with the Easy Star All-Stars, who had a surprise hit back in 2003 with a reggae version of Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon, rendered as Dub Side of the Moon. That album's success led inevitably to follow-up projects re-creating albums by Radiohead and the Beatles. Jumping onto the same train now is a young band called Yellow Dubmarine, who have recast the Beatles' iconic Abbey Road album as Abbey Dub. The results aren't bad at all, but at times they sound a bit forced. The dark psychedelia of "Come Together" is a good match for the slow and bass-heavy rockers treatment it gets here, and the reggae settings work particularly seamlessly on "You Never Give Me Your Money" and a very fine and sweetly melancholy one-drop version of "Sun King." Elsewhere the results are a bit more questionable. "Here Comes the Sun," one of the best pop songs ever written, stoutly resists being recast as a reggae tune, and the band essentially gives up, tacking on some offbeat guitar accents but otherwise delivering a straight rendition of the original, only with less compelling vocals. Their version of "Because" tries for a sort of nyahbinghi stateliness, but only succeeds at sounding rather tired. The album's best moments come near the end, with excellent settings of "Golden Slumbers" and, especially, "Carry That Weight." The latter evokes the glory days of the sufferer's anthem, and thus truly manages to raise the possibility of a mystical connection between the Beatles and early-'70s Jamaica.

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