Reviews

Overproof Soundsystem

In the heart of the United Kingdom's industrial city of Birmingham, there exists an authentic and thriving dub reggae scene. At the core of this movement is the longstanding Different Drummer label owned by Rockers Hi-Fi. Overproof Soundsystem -- which features members of G-Corp, vocalists Ras MC T-Weed and Juggla, and percussionist Mighty Magoo -- is a collective that first formed in 2002 through Overproof, the record label's weekly club night.

On its debut album, Nothing to Proove, Overproof is coming straight from Kingston in attitude and sound. The spliffed-out anthem "Watch What You Put Inna" kicks Nothing off right, and things only get more blunted from there. There is the occasional infusion of modern elements, particularly on the U.K. garage-inflected "Dis Sound," where the saucy, upbeat bass lines bounce behind Ras MC T-Weed's quick and buoyant rhymes. But since garage is partially riddim-driven, the combination is quite smooth. Even more conventional tracks such as "The Plea," where a lament asking for deliverance from humanity's madness is balanced against a rocking melodic beat, have a Jamaican undertone. Socially conscious without being preachy, Nothing carries a message of peace and unity on tracks such as "Fussing and Fighting" and "War Must Cease" with a sincerity that is genuine, much like the group's reggae forefathers did.

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Lily Moayeri