Wonders Of The World

Long Beach Dub Allstars

Dreamworks Records, 2001

http://www.lbdamusic.com

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/19/2001

Some CDs only work in certain environments.

For example, I doubt anybody could listen to Wonders Of The World by Long Beach Dub Alltars unless there was a wet towel under the door, bad convenience store-grade incense burning and with a couple of people laughing uncontrollably at the "Set it and Forget it" rotisserie infomercial guy at 3 a.m.

The Long Beach Dub Allstars formed when Sublime disbanded after lead singer Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996. Because the Allstars feature surviving Sublime members, comparisons to the pioneering 90s reggae/ska/punk outfit are inevitable. Unfortunately, there hasn't been an album by the Allstars that comes close to matching the unity and cohesiveness of Sublime's self-titled release or my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 40 Oz. To Freedom.

The Allstars certainly try to come up with a blockbuster on Wonders Of The World. The album is slickly produced and has guest rappers from Black Eyed Peas (Will.I.Am) and Jurassic Five (Chali2na) sitting in on a couple of songs. "Sunny Hours," the song that has the best chance of becoming a hit, even appears twice.

However, hip guest artists and song repetition do not make a great album. Wonders Of The World is often a mess of clashing genres and styles. Upright bass, turntables and even a midi wind controller are used by the seven musicians in the Allstars. Bands that can effortless weave reggae, rock and punk together are few and far between. Fishbone and Sublime are two mainstream bands are the only two commercial examples that come to mind.

And unfortunately, the Allstars seem to be throwing in every musical instrument in sight just to prove that they are diverse. With too many musical elements spoiling the dish, the band rarely allows time to let an established groove settle in. Tracks like "It Ain't Easy" and "Grassy Cloud" start off with a relaxed, deep groove which suddenly changes to a hard-core sound seconds before the song ends with no explanation. It sort of like having dueling stoners, armed with Peter Tosh and Kyuss CDs, fighting over the rights to the CD changer.

The Allstars are still a live act that is worth checking out. From what I've heard, they put on an infectious, groove-heavy show with a lot of good vibes mixed in. And for reggae novices, this is a good band to ease your way into the world of reggae. They are one of the few bands who has a genuine appreciation and a solid grasp of reggae history.

However, the Allstars need to focus more energy on refining their sound and capturing their energy and potential on CD. After listening to Wonders Of The World, the only thing you will have a serious jonesin' for is a Sublime or a Bob Marley CD.

Rating: D

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© 2001 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Dreamworks Records, and is used for informational purposes only.