New Zealand dub-afrobeat export The Black Seeds return this month with the latest addition to the outfits expanding catalogue, Dust and Dirt. The band consists of eight musicians, all bringing their own musical individualism to the band. The outfit has also had its fair share of former members, one being Bret McKenzie who is known these days as one half of kiwi musical comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords.
With four strong studio albums already under their belts, three of which made the Top 5 in their homeland, Dust and Dirt sees the collective expanding on their signature fusion of dub, soul and afro-beat to create a mature and welcome release for one of New Zealand’s most recent musical successes. Though most see the band as a reggae outfit, The Black Seeds venture well past the borders of reggae and have, over the years, progressed into pastures well more complex and expansive and have, in the process, enjoyed a career of genre experimentation.
Dust and Dirt continues to push the boundaries that The Black Seeds refuse to be trapped within and the 13 track collection showcases a band in their prime with track after track of well structured and refined musicianship.
From the opening Out of Light that ushers us into the new record with an eerie opener with its echoed and harmonized vocals that drip through a synth heavy rhythm and the memorable yet musically minimalistic Wide Open with its funk soaked guitar-work and laid back vocal crooning, Dust and Dirt is a thorough release for The Black Seeds and one created to a standard that we have come to expect of the outfit over the years.
The band pulls together a meaty guitar riff and turns the momentum up a few notches on Loose Cartilage as they combine an up-tempo melody built up of multiple instruments and the track sits confidently in the centre of the track-listing as a superb instrumental.
A fusion of dub-step and reggae takes a firm hold of Love Me Now as we are presented with a toe-tapping addition to Dust and Dirt and probably the most commercially targeted track within the record. The vocals seems somewhat out of place on the track with their pop crooner qualities though they perch themselves nicely over the horn section that carries the track through to its pounding closing.
Most of the tracks on Dust and Dirt follow the same rhythm and tempo which can get quite repetitive when taking the whole record on in one swift go however it doesn’t take away the fact that the new record contains a thorough track-listing of well written additions to The Black Seed’s growing portfolio of pennings.
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