Black Dub’s self-titled debut album imaginatively combines 60s-style psychedelic guitar riffs with reggae-tinged blues, female soul singing, and gospel music. With Daniel Lanois on guitar, Trixie Whitley on lead vocals and keyboard, Brian Blade on drums, and Daryl Johnson on bass, the group generates a unique blend of passion, energy, and light. Whitley’s jazzy alto swoops and soars, the rhythm section is beyond tight (listen to Blade’s hi-hat!), and Lanois lays down some of the best guitar work this side of wherever Hendrix is calling home these days.
No matter which facet of Lanois’ work you prefer, Black Dub covers it. Jamaican dub beats inspire “Silverado.” Atmospheric instrumentals reverberate through “Ring the Alarm” and “Slow Baby.” “Love Lives” pairs sweet lyrics and vocals with echo effects. “Last Time” samples a vocal sermon by Blade’s minister father, then adds in harmonies and funk. “Surely” is a bluesy torch song recorded in a single take. The gospel-tinged “Canaan” features an unforgettable chorus, full of yearning and hope: “How far am I from Canaan, how far am I from joy?”
Lanois says he believes that people seek music that’s soulful, heartfelt, and meaningful. On all three counts, Black Dub delivers.