Please forgive me if this review features an album that was released in 2020. I myself just recently stumbled across this and am fascinated by it; it is of breathtaking musical brilliance, offers wonderfully extensive, consistently sophisticated arrangements and 1A sound quality. I say it openly: Dub Boat, a quintet from America's East Coast, sometimes sound like a symphony orchestra - every note on their untitled, self-published one debuts testifies to virtuoso ability - this also applies to the work of the sound engineer(s) involved. Mind you: we are still in the reggae genre, and there close to Dub-Area. Okay, let's call it instrumentals:
You can of course wear yourself out with such a work – because the whole thing has very little to do with the familiar, heavy riddims of Jamaican provenance. If you're looking for that typical earthy vibe that seems to be built on blood, sweat and tears, you won't find it here. It's reggae as reggae as it could be. Of course, the bass gets involved in a few repeated sequences of notes - but only to break out of it again and follow the sophisticated arrangements. Drums, guitar, keys and trumpet/flugelhorn are in no way inferior and produce together... well, what actually? Reggae goes Jazz-Rock-Funk'n'Soul goes Tamtam? Reggae as stadium rock or symphonic open-air concert? Chris Blackwell meets Jim Steinman meets Clive Hunt? Elevator music or breathtaking performance?
I suggest taking your time and letting the music sink in. There is a lot to discover, unforeseen musical surprises and one or the other Dub-Effect. Associations and classification are difficult – would Dub Spencer & Trance Hill would they sound like this if they were Americans and recorded Hollywood soundtracks full-time? Or maybe Marcus Urani's Groundation sans Harrison Stafford, freshly strengthened and ironed out?
An album - or rather: a review that raises more questions than answers. As always, I advise dealing with such phenomena from the fringes of the reggae universe - it could be worth it.