Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Duff Review: Babyhead "Jungle Law (Radio Edit)" b/w "Jungle Lore (Lupo's Dub Mix)"

Rockers Revolt Records

Bristol, UK's Babyhead combines big band vintage ska and old school dub with a modern hip-hop sensibility for a heavy, potent sound full of dread--think The Streets meet Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. This single, from their forthcoming album Heavy Weather (release date September 10, 2010 on Rockers Revolt Records), features "Jungle Law," a sinister, swaggering, and seductive tune (great bass and horn riffs here) that delineates the rules for surviving the mean streets in nothing but the bluntest terms: "Here is the law of the jungle/that's as old and as true as the sky/He that keep it shall prosper so/he that break it must die/As the streets that crisscross the city/the law runs forward and back/The strength of the pack is the wolf now/the wolf is the strength of the pack." What's particularly striking about this cut is that its sound manages to be both full and expansive, while being minimal and sparse and still able to land a powerful punch (like The Specials' "Ghost Town"). Lure Mad Professor into the studio with the master tapes and you can imagine what the superb versioning of this track-- "Jungle Lore (Lupo's Dub Mix)"--might sound like.

This is ska for the 21st century--completely cognizant of its roots and history, yet re-defined and re-imagined with contemporary and relevant attitudes and sounds. Babyhead's "Jungle Law" single is essential ska music for our future times--get it now!

[Both the limited edition 7" vinyl single and digital download of "Jungle Law" b/w "Jungle Lore (Lupo's Dub Mix)" will be released on June 1, 2010.]

The Duff Guide to Ska Grade: A

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