Rockers Revolt - 2008
To be brutally honest, I’ve never been too impressed with Pama International. Their first three albums (s/t, Too Many Freaks, and Float Like a Butterfly) were forgettable, and despite the hype surrounding their last album (Trojan Sessions), I felt the tracks that didn’t feature the special guests were more of the same old boring stuff.
So what’s different with Love Filled Dub Band (Pama International’s first album on their own Rockers Revolt label) from their past efforts? For me, it feels as if Pama International have finally found their sound. “Soul-fueled, dub-induced Roots, Rockers & Reggae,” was how Sean Flowerdew described the new album to Gabe back in October, and it describes Love Filled Dub Band perfectly: Soul filled melodies filled with plenty of echoes, reverb effects, and lasers whizzing around will have you thinking that this album was produced by the likes of King Tubby or Lee Perry in his Black Ark studio.
The album starts out strongly with the Stax-esque funky reggae tune, “Wherever You Lead” and continues rolling on strong till the very last track, the straight up soul song, “Be My Guest.” The organ heavy “Orgon will Follow” (instrumental cut of “Wherever You Lead”) will have you grooving, while the heavy “Lovely Dub” is a choice dub cut of “Lovely Wife.”
That’s not to say there weren’t some tracks that I could do without (“Tomorrow’s News Today”), but thankfully, those were few and in the minority.
Social commentary is the focus of this album, and with tracks like “Highrise” (featuring guest artist Michie One singing over dubbed out “Cherry Oh Baby”), “Wonder Wonder” (written and sung by Specials’ guitarist Lynval Golding), and “Throwaway Society,” Pama International deals with subjects like violence on the streets, war, and the wasteful societies that we live in.
This album might not feature the all-star guests that Trojan Sessions promised, but with Rico Rodriguez (who was also featured in Trojan Sessions), Sir Horace Panter (bassist for the Specials), Michie One (one half of the London Reggae duo, Louchie Lou & Michie One) contributing to the album, this album is a much more complete album than Trojan Sessions.
Ultimately, if you’re already a Pama International fan, this album should be a fantastic addition to your collection. If you’ve never gotten into Pama International before, Love Filled Dub Band is the perfect album to introduce you to them. Finally, if you’re like me and have never really cared for Pama International in the past, maybe this album will force you to re-evaluate your opinion of them.
Pama International is the brain child of Finny and Sean Flowerdew (both used to be in an 80s ska band called The Loafers), and features an all star lineup of members from bands such as The Specials, The Special Beat, and Steel Pulse.
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