Hoboken is a district on the Scheldt in the south of Antwerp (Belgium) with around 40.000 inhabitants. It was an independent municipality until 1983 and in the 16th century it also gave its name to one of the numerous Dutch settlements founded on the Hudson, directly on the other side of the river from today's New York. Hoboken Studio, wasn't there something?
Kingston Echo, the Spellbrakers' guitarist, producer and sound engineer, sets the tone and says, “I've loved Jamaican music since I was a kid. This project is the result of experimenting with the recording equipment I've collected over the years to record my bands. I've tried to stay true to the raw, unpolished feel of the old Jamaican recordings that I love so much. That means these recordings are all analog and far from perfect." That's how the self-titled debut album of the "spell breakers(Bona Fi Records). The mission is: back to the old playing and recording techniques. The rhythm section is recorded live at Kingston Echo's backyard studio and mixed using vintage 16-track analog gear. The band from the Hoboken district presents their very own, respectful interpretation of roots reggae from the heyday, with sparse allusions to British reggae from the 70s and 80s.
The album begins with the XNUMX+ minute Flame Of Clarity, based on a riddim strongly reminiscent of Bob Marley's "Natural Mystic". Of far greater interest to the Dubblog, however, are the six Dub-Versions of the previous vocal tracks, which is by no means to say that the vocal tracks are worthless. As I said, the “Clarity Dub' Brings back memories of Bob Marley. During the subsequent “Growing Dub' shines a remarkable horn section, the tempo is noticeably picked up and Carlton 'Carlie' Barrett's 'hissing' drum patterns keep coming to mind. Apparently Missing Link, the Spellbreakers' drummer, is an ardent admirer of Carlie's drumming. In the rock-solid “Deliverance Dub“ we hear vocal fragments from the Brazilian-born singer Juli Jupter, whose vocals have developed significantly compared to the previously released 12? singles. Whether it's a slow one-drop or a faster riddim, she sings both with finesse. In addition, Juli Jupter and Missing Link also designed the beautiful cover. With the Spellbreakers, everything from the mixing to the cover design is in the hands of the band. Personally, I particularly like “House of Dub’ with its sluggish rhythm and the flashing horn and organ passages. At "Dub Your Step” you can hear vocal fragments from Missing Link, who did the singing in the original.
All in all a solid album with a lot of classical touches, nothing more and nothing less. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they still need it.
Guitarist/producer Kingston Echo and drummer Missing Link are both members of the Hoboken Hi-Fi house band, also known as the Hi-Flyers.