Songwriting/DJ duo The Nextmen and UK dub giants, Gentleman’s Dub Club, have come together to create a perfect summer soundtrack with their new collaborative album. GDC have built up an impressive reputation through their intense, high energy live performances which always get the whole room skanking, and after seeing their show at Boomtown in 2017 and The Foundry in October, this is definitely true. Similarly, The Next Men have played DJ sets all over the globe, blasting their unique sound which incorporates hip-hop, drum and bass, soul and everything in between. This is the first time both of these groups have come together to create a full-length album, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Pound for Pound is an eclectic 12 track masterpiece, with each song sounding completely different to the next. They  seamlessly combine reggae, dub, dancehall, hip-hop and ska to form their own trademark sound on the album. The album is filled with features from reggae-dub royalty, including Eva Lazarus, Chali 2na, Joe Dukie, Parly B and Gardna just to name a few. They all put their own stamp on each track, creating an energetic, infectious sound which you can’t help but bop your head along to while listening.

‘Rudeboy’, featuring Gardna, was the first single to be released from the album. It’s heavy bass sets the tempo, shortly followed by Dub Club’s trademark soulful horns and an incredibly catchy chorus. Gardna’s rap quickly builds the intensity of the track and in one bar even nods to the iconic jungle track ‘Original Nuttah’ mimicking the incredibly fast pace of the much loved track.

The album slows back down on ‘Misty Eyes’, featuring immaculate vocals from Eva Lazarus. The classic reggae-influenced bassline is embraced through the entire track, woven together with a steady drum beat and of course Dub Club’s iconic brass sounds. Lead singer of GDC Jonathan Scratchley’s vocals eerily echo the line “Misty Eyes’ which reverberates, creating yet another different vibe on this one of a kind album.

The beginning of ‘Running Scared’, featuring Parly B, Eva Lazarus and Gardna, starts with an intense electronic beat and harmonized vocals which throws you straight into the track. Progressing into a rap, tinted with a classic dub style, followed by Eva Lazarus’ confident vocals. Again, each of these artists influence can be clearly heard on the track which gives it its unique sound.

There’s literally no end to the talents that both of these artists have shown on this album. Each track is incredibly strong and could easily work as a stand alone single. The sheer number of iconic guest appearances set the bar incredibly high for Pound for Pound. However, The Next Men and Gentleman’s Dub Club have somehow managed to surpass these expectations. Even if you’ve never listened to dub before you should give this record a listen and you definitely won’t be disappointed.

5/5

Image Credit: Flickr, user Drew McLellan

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