Marijuana Dreams coverDubblestandart: Marijuana Dreams [Collision Cause of Chapter 3, 2010]

The cover promo blurb said “feat. Anthony B., Elephant Man, Lee Scratch Perry, William S. Burroughs, David Lynch, a.o.!”, therefore I approached this latest Dubblestandart release with some foreboding. No, it’s not Elephant Man I fear, scary though he tries to be. It’s Scratch. Last time out with Dubblestandart, he was ridiculously and childishly profane, a tiresome caricature of his former self, thus a disappointment. Not that the others involved with that last one were inspired either.

But this new disc is quite good: interesting textures, endless groove and sufficient variety thanks mostly to the guest artists. On his four tracks Perry presents only his winsome side, which means his usual playfulness and trademark utterances – nothing you haven’t heard from him before, probably, but amusing enough. As for the other guests, it’s William Burroughs’ idiosyncratic spoken proclamations, sound appropriately distorted, that stand out.

On to Dubblestandart themselves. Their music (like its cousin, traditional reggae) is dance music, which by definition provides less sustenance to the brain than to the body. So the beat just keeps beating away, tempo often slow, with the other musical elements pretty much in subservience. And yet it would be dumb to deny the melodic appeal that surfaces now and then, or the occasional funkiness in the rhythms, or the experimentation apparent in the dubs. As for the lyrics, sorry, nothing’s worth quoting.

On balance, clearly Marijuana Dreams has more to offer than most of its dance trance prance techno disco blissco rivals. It’s probably strongest around the middle, starting with “They Became One” and continuing through the Burroughs’s track “Saints Go Marchin’ Through All The Popular Tunes” and “Chase The Devil (Sin City Mix).” Those and a few other tracks are sufficiently involving to rate your attention, whether or not you feel like dancing.