Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad

In These Times

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Shortly before the release of this album, the Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad released one entitled Country. That album was almost entirely acoustic, and featured instrumentation that looked more like a bluegrass band than one that would have the word "dub" in its name. For those who might have found that album puzzling, In These Times will ease the confusion. This one is about as straight-up as roots reggae gets: one-drop and rockers rhythms, socially conscious lyrics, and dubwise production flourishes are all in evidence here, and if the politics get a bit ham-handed sometimes (sample couplet: "Get rich, get wealthy/Are we doing the best that we can to make sure that our families stay healthy?"), the grooves are relentless and powerful. Several tracks are reprised from Country, including "Healing" (the most reggae-inflected song on that previous album) and a lovely new version of "Love You More." Highlights include the excellent one-drop anthem "All Night Music" and a fine sufferer's number titled "Pockets," and the slow, thick rockers groove of "World War" is also excellent. While they're recycling material, it would be great to see a full-length dubwise companion to this album.

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