Easy Star All-Stars

Radiodread (Easy Star Records)

The concept of a track-for-track reggae version of Radiohead's OK Computer seems like the bong-hit daydreams of a lonesome stoner in a murky dorm room. Thanks to the Easy Star All-Stars (the minds behind 2003's Dub Side of the Moon), modern rock music's most experimental and introspective band is paid homage by a ragtag amalgamation of Jamaican legends and genre newcomers. A survey of Radiodread's featured artists makes the project seem ill-advised; having the Godfather of Ska — Toots Hibbert — and the Maytals pump their typical energy into the bleak lament "Let Down" appeared to be a particularly incongruous pairing. Fret not. Toots converts the dirge into a groovy ska anthem and injects some soul power into the mournful lyrics. Morgan Heritage transforms "Electioneering" into a superdubby raveup that keeps the discordant guitars and ambient bleeps intact. Menny More reimagines "Fitter Happier" as a militant call to Rastafarian tenets. A few tracks, most notably Junior Jazz's "Subterranean Homesick Alien," fall flat. Overall these remakes should make Radiohead fans feel more like skanking and lighting a spliff than contemplating life's cruelty and slitting their wrists.

 
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