Reggae band Gentleman’s Dub Club officially returns Friday with its latest album, Down to Earth. The band’s sixth album and eighth overall studio recording, it is everything that audiences have come to expect from the group, musically and lyrically. Those aspects will be examined here. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements. When the elements are considered together, they make Down to Earth yet another work that the group’s established audience base will enjoy just as much as the band’s existing catalog.
Gentleman’s Dub Club’s latest album is a work that will appeal equally to the band’s established audience base and to reggae fans in general. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question carry the same reggae based stylistic approach that the band has taken throughout each of its existing albums. The difference here is that the band has opted to switch things up slightly. Case in point is a song, such as ‘Moonlight Dreams.’ This song’s arrangement presents a touch of retro disco and R&B influences, what with the use of the strings and keyboards. The combination of those elements makes the song its own unique presentation within the bigger picture of the album. The album’s title track meanwhile incorporates some rapping in the whole. The result is an immediate comparison to works from the likes of Pitbull. ‘Last Chance,’ which fittingly comes last in the 36-minute record’s run, incorporates a lot of electronics into its mix to give the song quite the interesting club style work. That is even with the band’s ever-present reggae styling in there, too. Between these unique arrangements, the more pure reggae styles, and other hybrid approaches, the overall musical picture painted by Gentleman’s Dub Club this time out is something that audiences will find familiar, and slightly updated. That mix of familiar and new makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment within itself. It is just a portion of what makes the album appealing for the group’s target audiences. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements add their own appeal to the overall presentation.
The lyrical themes featured in Down to Earth are important to examine because of their own accessibility. Case in point is the lyrical theme featured in ‘Honey (ft. Hollie Cook).’ The song is straight forward here. It is a clear “come hither” type of love song. It finds Cook singing as the song’s subject, telling a man, “Sweet honey/You taste too good to be true.” She adds, “Whispering/From a golden throne/The sweetest sin/Queen bee in the honeycomb…Surrender to the siren’s call…Desire takes control of me/Your warm embrace sets me free.” Simply put, this is a reggae style slow jam, and it will definitely become a fan favorite if it already hasn’t.
‘Smile,’ the album’s penultimate track, is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content. It is a reminder to listeners that as bad as things can get, they can also get better. This is a familiar lyrical theme within the reggae realm. Front man Jonathan Scratchley presents that reminder right from the song’s lead verse as he sings, “I get this feeling every day/I wanna run/But I know that I should stay/Just want to hear the music play/But all these little things keep getting in my way/Every time it starts to rain/Don’t you worry/It’s OK/’Cause the sunshine isn’t very far away/If you just smile/Then the whole wide world will smile with you/No matter where you come from/Or where you’re going to.” This is, again, a familiar theme in the world of reggae, but is just as welcome today as in any instance past and present. The rest of the song continues in similar fashion, lyrically speaking, so there is no real reason to go on from there. The message is clear and welcome.
‘Sugar Rush,’ it could be argued, is lyrical companion to ‘Honey.’ This time, the vantage point is that of the man instead of the woman, with the man saying the woman “gives me a sugar rush.” Obviously that’s pretty blatant metaphorical language, and it makes for its own appeal to listeners. ‘Moonlight Dreams’ meanwhile is its own musical mix of modern and vintage influences with a lyrical theme that once again is another love song. Looking at all of this lyrical content and that of the other songs not noted here, no doubt is left as to the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. The lyrical themes, like the record’s musical arrangements are everything that fans of Gentleman’s Dub Club have come to expect. Taking that into consideration, that whole shows again, why the album’s overall content will appeal largely to the band’s established fan base. It may even bring in some new audiences. While that overall content does plenty to generate appeal for the album, it is only a portion of what makes the album work as well as it does. The album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation.
The sequencing of Down to Earth is important to note because of its role in the album’s general effect category. As noted already, the record’s arrangements are largely everything that audiences have come to expect from Gentleman’s Dub Club over the years. However, the band does change things up slightly here and there throughout the record. The sequencing ensures that those subtle changes mix in with the band’s more familiar stylistic approaches just enough to keep things interesting from beginning to end of the 10-song record. What’s more, listeners who pay close attention to each song will also note subtle changes not only in the arrangements’ stylistic approaches, but also in their energies. ‘Castle in the Sky’ opens the record on a relaxed note before giving way to something more up-tempo immediately after in ‘Down to Earth.’ ‘Honey’ slows things down again, putting listeners “in the mood” before the record moves in a more lateral direction in ‘Sunshine Revolution.’ The song is relaxed, too, but not the slow jam that is ‘Honey.’ ‘Moonlight Dreams,’ with its aforementioned disco and R&B elements picks things back up noticeably. That relaxed vibe continues on through ‘Moonlight Dreams’ before things pick back up slightly in ‘Night Shift’ before pulling back again ‘More Than Memories.’ From there, the record’s energy picks back up – to a point – in its last trio of songs to finish things off. The short and simple here is thus: The rise and fall in the album’s energies is so subtle but clear throughout. It keeps the record’s pacing moving fluidly throughout the album. That along with the importance of the sequencing in terms of the songs’ stylistic changes, makes fully clear why the album’s sequencing is just as important as the record’s content. When that content and sequencing is all considered together, the whole makes Down to Earth a presentation that will appeal to Gentleman’s Dub Club’s established fan base and to more casual reggae fans alike.
Down to Earth, the latest album from Gentleman’s Dub Club, is a continuation of success that the band has enjoyed from each of its existing studio recordings. That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements. For the most part, the arrangements are everything that the band’s established audiences have come to expect from the group. Though, there are some changes interspersed throughout the album’s arrangements that new and old fans alike will appreciate. The lyrical themes featured throughout the album are important in their own way the whole of the album. That is because of the accessibility of the themes. The sequencing of the record’s songs finalizes everything, ensuring the album never gets monotonous, and succeeds in the process. When it is considered along with the record’s overall content, the record in whole ensures its own success among the established fan base of Gentleman’s Dub Club and reggae fans in general. Down to Earth is scheduled for release Friday through Easy Star Records.
More information on Down to Earth is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:
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