Friday, Dec. 15, 2006
Following their successful reggae re-imagining of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," New York's Easy Star All-Stars (musician-producers Michael G. and Ticklah) set their sights on Radiohead's no-less monumental "OK Computer," and while a predictable pattern seems to be emerging, the fact that the All-Stars treat the album as a set of songs rather than a monolithic piece of art works to their advantage -- and to that of the songs themselves.
The main issue is applying the reggae template to Radiohead's tricky time signatures and textures, but it doesn't turn out to be a problem. Some tracks don't even try: The Latin lilt of "Paranoid Android" only feels like reggae by association, and "Climbing Up the Walls" sounds like the kind of dub that Tricky would have tackled in his early days. For "OK Computer" fans and haters alike, the central question is probably how far the guest vocalists stray from Thom Yorke's keening whine. Whatever your take on the reggae, the singing is always interesting, in particular Toots and the Maytals' buoyant and bouncy "Let Down."