Roots of Creation’s ‘Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1’ regaled as riddim masterpiece

Roots of Creation’s ‘Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1’ regaled as riddim masterpiece

Acclaimed reggae rock group Roots of Creation are excited to announce the release of their new, fan-funded album Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1: an eclectic mix of reggae riddims and rock covers that will have you lost in a dream, never wanting to return from this realm. A masterfully put together set of tracks showcase a band who has transcended reality and evolved into something otherworldly, bending the minds of anyone who is fortunate enough to venture across this band’s fixed point in the universe. 

This year, RoC has released a monster stack of superb singles, including the mighty “Mammoth” and the enchanting guitar duel that is “Arabia” (featuring Mihali of Twiddle), which we highlighted here. These tracks, along with the rest of the album, expertly echo some of the best dub pioneers ever to do it, going back to the dub originators of the 60s. Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1 is filled to the brim with an infectiously high energy, with dub riddims and vibes oozing out of every track.

The epic escalation of guitars throughout the entirety of “Light It Up Dub” leave me speechless every time and could be listened to on loop for hours. 

All that being said, for me, the real magic starts after the 10th track, “Woman Dub”, and subsequent white-noise-rainfall-style interlude that is “…for Sleeping Roots Babies”. That’s when the bonus tracks kick in. The prize at the bottom of the cereal box. Keep in mind that this treasure only truly pays off if you are patient enough to gradually, and satisfyingly, work your way through the deliciously sugary cereal that is the whole album, thankfully finding yourself blown away by what you discover at the bottom… TWO PRIZES! First, you get the Pete Boardz master version of the party jam “Light It Up”, featuring Mighty Mystic, which I was lucky enough to cover earlier this year, when a single version was released. However, the true reward of the whole album is the second, full-vocal version of “7 Nation Army”, featuring the esteemed Hayley Jane. 

The dub cover of the iconic White Stripes anthem is tremendous in its own right, however the vocal version is the star of the album, in my mind. Hayley and frontman Brett Wilson are completely in sync and in total harmony with one another. Reflecting back on the songs, Andrew (production/sax/vocals) recalls, “I wanted it to sound dark and, even in the quietest moments, still carry an intensity that moves the listener. Making Hayley Jane’s and Brett Wilson’s vocals sit perfect and still be playful was a fruitful challenge.” Wilson, bandleader, on vocals and guitar, added, “The third verse, when both main vocalists meld together, along with the end peaking orgasmic wall of guitars are my favorite parts.”

I’m telling you — I’m simply blown away. 

As if having your face melted off by an epic showing of rock and dub becoming one wasn’t enough, Roots of Creation transition seamlessly into a show-stopping cover of one of the best songs ever written, “Soulshine” by The Allman Brothers. Teaming up with Jesse Wagner (of The Aggrolites), DELA and Paul Wolstencraft (of Slightly Stoopid), Nick Asta (of The Elovaters) and the Green Lion Crew, Wilson and the gang were deftly able to capture the true spirit of the well-known song, shouting from the rooftops the importance of keeping that soul shining bright enough for the whole world to see. They add just enough reggae and soul to make it their own, while still perfectly pairing with every second of this Warren Haynes classic. It serves as an ideal penultimate track to an absolutely conscious-crushing album.  

Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1 by Roots of Creation will no doubt go down as one of the greatest dub albums ever released and, believe me, it deserves all of its acclaim! Find out for yourself: Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1 is available on all digital platforms now, as well as on CD and vinyl.

Purchase or stream ‘Dub Free or Die, Vol. 1’ album:

Track listing:

  1. Are you my Uber? – CBO BBQ Yinzer Dub
  2. Kamp Kaniff Elixir – Dub
  3. Arabia, feat. Mihali
  4. Light it Up – Dub
  5. Black Bear – Dub
  6. Corksoakers
  7. Seven Nation Army – Dub Cover
  8. Interlude
  9. Mammoth – Studio Version 2021
  10. Woman – Dub
  11. White Noise for Sleeping Roots Babies
  12. Light it Up, feat. Mighty Mystic
  13. Seven Nation Army, feat. Hayley Jane
  14. Soulshine, feat. The Aggrolites, Jesse Wagner, Brett Wilson, Pdubz13 & DELA
  15. Wake Up – Remastered 2021

Cover photo by Josh Coffman

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.

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2 years ago