Sly and Robbie Blackwood Dub

There's a strong case to be made for the duo of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare to be acknowledged as one of Jamaica's most valuable exports. Yet they've usually been laissez-faire about releases. Some have been very good, while others have just marked time, even during their late'70s/early '80s heyday. How satisfying to come across a new disc from the duo that not only finds them in top form, but contains new ideas pushing them further into the current century. A key aspect of the duo's sound is the marriage of unconventional, jerky rhythms inspired by Jamaica's folk traditions with futuristic settings. And they still sound futuristic ― a track like "Burru Saturday" sees them reincorporate Germanic grandsons Basic Channel's chilled posture into something somewhat funkier. Praise is due to the Channel One- and Compass Point-era supporting cast, who provide quirky percussive flourishes and hilarious but compelling '80s guitar washes. This might be one of their strongest albums as leaders; 40 years in the game and they're still going strong. (Groove Attack)