September 27, 2001

A Sublime New Album

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Take a wide array of skilled musicians from the Long Beach, California area, add Sublime-infused reggae, punk, rock, hip-hop and dub, sprinkle in a few guest appearances, and out comes the new album from the Long Beach Dub Allstars, Wonders of the World. Despite its simplicity, the LBDA’s formula works rather well, as the new album provides seventeen diverse tracks ranging from intense, hard-hitting punk to mellow, funky dub jams. The amalgam of artists in LBDA, including the surviving members of Sublime as well as a few old friends of the band, create an innovative seven-man line-up with strong musical prowess. Although locally originated, the Long Beach Dub Allstars synthesize musical styles from all over the globe, generating a unique fusion. And if you were into Sublime, you should definitely check out LBDA.

The band seems to have formed around the two remaining core members of Sublime, bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh, but most of the other members of Long Beach Dub Allstars have played and collaborated with Sublime either in a live setting or in the studio. Opie Ortiz, the lead singer of LBDA and former artwork designer for Sublime, went to high school with both Eric Wilson and Marshal Goodman, the turntablist for LBDA (as well as on Sublime’s album 40 ounces to Freedom). Playing keyboard and organ in addition to singing for LBDA is Jack Maness, who previously sang with Brad Nowell on “Rivers to Babylon” off 40 ounces to Freedom. Ras 1, vocalist and guitarist, played a few gigs with Sublime in the early 90s and brought Tim Wu, the sax and flute player, with him to join the band. Clearly, the Long Beach connection runs deep, and these skilled musicians jive well together.

The album opens with a short, trippy, dub-induced jam, but on the next track, “Sunny Hours” the band returns to the Sublime, radio-ready sound of “What I Got,” featuring Will.I.Am (from Black Eyed Peas) rhyming and singing with Opie Ortiz. The third track of the album, “Listen to DJ’s,” is almost a straight reggae tune, complete with world percussion, horns, and syncopated keyboard chords. The stylistic variety of the first three tracks of the album only begins to demonstrate the many different musical components of the later songs on Wonders of the World, such as punk, ska, hip-hop, and funk. “Life Goes On,” a slinky dub tune featuring Tippa Irie, a well-known dancehall singer, and Chali2na, the old-school, deep voiced rapper from Jurassic 5, is a song that crosses so many genres its hard to describe. The other highlights of the album include “Luke,” a funky ska jam about a struggling boy, and “Grass Cloud,” an instrumental jam full of electronic dub beats, horns, and guitar and keyboard effects.

Despite LBDA’s many different styles, in no way is the album schizophrenic. Instead, the band’s conglomeration leads to a unique but identifiable sound that remains consistent throughout the album. The band gives new meaning to the phrase “think globally and act locally” on Wonders of the World, by combining so many different styles from all over the planet while playimg hard, “still straight out of Long Beach.”

Archived article by Andrew Gilman