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Radiodread

August 22, 2006 | Format: MP3

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By Delite Rancher VINE VOICE on August 30, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The Easy Star All-Stars have taken the same magic that rendered "Dub Side of the Moon" a phenomenon and applied it to another of the twentieth century's greatest recordings: "OK Computer." Most tributes phonographically copy the original band or fall embarrassingly short in the attempt. Both types are dull. A good tribute pays homage to the parent while simultaneously making a fresh interpretation. "Radiodread" accomplishes this goal in a meaningful way. The primary genre here is roots reggae with tones of dub, ska, rock and soul. Naturally some songs work better than others, but as a whole the recording achieves a highly psychedelic interpretation. While packed with quality guests, it is the contribution of Toots & the Maytals that lends legitimacy to "Radiodread" as a reggae project. If the listener appreciates both Radiohead and reggae music, this is sure to resonate. In what is now a stack of Radiohead tributes, "Radiodread" finds itself alongside Christopher O'Riley's work -somewhere near the top.
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Format: Audio CD
Easy Star All-Stars' (ESAS) 2006 project to cover one of the decade's greatest albums is an ambitious project. "Radiodread" is the group's track by track rendering of Radiohead's 1997 album "OK Computer" into a reggae record. The record is faithful to the original songs in terms of melodic and harmonic lines, down to electronic details and lyrics, changing only the instrumentation to reflect reggae sensibilities and featuring a range of different guest artists to re-adapt (or entirely copy) Thom Yorke's vocals. The upside of this is that Radiohead fans get the opportunity to see Radiohead entirely through the different lens of reggae, to get a kick out of the humorous and deft reinterpretation of favourite tracks, or even to appreciate the record as a stand-alone. The downside is that certain tracks which emulate the original to a tee may appear to want more creative freedom, other than just dressing Radiohead up in a removable reggae costume. In all, however, ESAS has managed to create some gems that have discovered and explored new aspects and realms of Radiohead, and makes "Radiodread" an album worth your time.

The first thing that hits the listener (Radiohead-informed or not) is how most tracks stylistically embody the elements of reggae; the strong, pulsing and straightforward offbeat, the instrumentation and the Jamaican vocals. It surprised me to laughter initially when I heard familiar songs like "Let Down" reinterpreted. Some comparison is needed here: the original song exudes a melancholic feel as Thom Yorke sings, "Let Down...Crushed like a bug..." while paired with the sounds of a dreamy guitar. ESAS' take of the track features the distinctive offbeat of reggae that gives the song an upbeat feel typically uncharacteristic of Radiohead.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I listened to this album non-stop for about a year - I mean every day, sometimes three times in a day just letting the iPod replay. Just an incredible album that has all the wonderful musicality of the Radiohead original but without the "depressing" moodiness. I just can't listen to more than one or two songs off Radiohead's OK Computer - too depressing - but this Easy All Stars tribute is a triumph and, frankly, is preferable to the original.

People that like reggae but never heard Radiohead would love this album. People that love Radiohead ought to give it a listen as it will be highly enjoyable and refreshingly different.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great album. The only flaws it has, if you could call them that, is that it stays too close to the original "OK Computer". There are a lot of points in which they could have deviated a bit more into Jamaican territories than to go with the soul/R&B/rock feel that this album is laced with. But the production is fantastic and the performances are very tight, as expected out of this crew.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
A good cover not only exposes the skill of the artist(s) doing the cover, but also teaches the listener about the genre(s) of music being explored; about the emotions expressed in both the song and in the artist(s)' rendition(s); about the listener's own tastes, needs, desires, and prejudices; and about culture -- in all of its vast, overarching glory -- as a whole.

No, really.

Because here we have a reggae band taking some of the finest alternative/indie music ever released and making it new, making it strange, making it *accessible* to a whole new audience of people who will, perhaps, reach out for more music *by* Radiohead, and from there...

Well, who knows?

The best covers open the listener to whole new vistas, new possibilities, new beauty, new *art*. And this? Is some of the best.

Standouts: Airbag, Subterranean Homesick Alien, Climbing Up The Walls, Electioneering

As an aside? A computer glitch worked out in my favor such that I *could've* gotten this album for free, but it was just too good.*not* to make sure *someone* got paid for it, so I absolutely bought it twice.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
While it's hard to improve on a classic and there are always risks for falling flat. Radiodread is a dub accomplishment. Sometimes reggea remakes can go to far and betray key aspects of the original. Not so in this case. The feel of Radiohead remains intact while adding and incorporating rhythm and dub components, on par with Dub Side of the Moon. There are moments of tension and release created that parallel the original (See Lucky and Climbing Up the Walls). Moreover, the protest aspects from Radiohead shine through making an easy segue - not a stretch at all as a spirit of resistance emanates from Reggea's soul.
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