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Jah Wobble — Metal Box Rebuilt in Dub
(Cleopatra CLO2586, 1979/2021, CD / 2LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-04-13

Metal Box Rebuilt in Dub Cover art

Metal Box - Rebuilt in Dub presents the entire Metal Box album, originally released by Public Image Ltd in 1979, in remixed and somewhat rearranged form. Jah Wobble was a member of the band at the time, along with John Lydon and Keith Levene, though there were no credits specifying who did what. A number of different drummers have been identified with the tracks, including David Humphrey, Richard Dudanski, and Martin Atkins — both Levene and Wobble contributed as well. “Dub” is used here in a conceptual way, and does not in any respect imply that the music resembles Jamaican dub, which is characterized by sparse rhythms and spaced-out echoes. The aggressive post-punk sound of PiL is very much in evidence; Wobble has taken the original tracks as his foundation, and if anything, the new versions sound more dense than the originals. But even if you’re not familiar with the original album, Rebuilt in Dub is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, with great grooves, excellent bass lines, and all manner of improvisational craziness tossed in on top, be it mangled attempts at playing themes from Swan Lake or stream-of-consciousness vocal improvisations. Assorted new drum, guitar, keyboard, violin, and vocal parts have been injected, all to good effect. The music may not sound as radical as it did 40 years ago, but it’s still far from ordinary, and this fact serves to emphasize just how forward-looking this band was in their heyday.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Jah Wobble

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