Only Joe: Wicked Land – EP review

Only Joe - Wicked Land EP artwork

Only Joe – Wicked Land (Unit 137)
12″ / DL
Available now

Following the last few weeks of celebrating that the Wicked Witch is dead, ten-piece London reggae outfit onlyjoe bring us back to earth with a reminder that we are still living in the “Wicked land of Cameron”, and in this land “when the rich man do wrong him always get away, when the poor man do wrong him always have to pay”.

Social commentary that will ring true with readers of Louder Than War, I’m sure, and with it’s reference to Babylon fits perfectly into the genre onlyjoe inhabit.

These are wicked times we live in and as was the case during Thatcher’s years, the only positive thing that seems to come from the pressure is dissent and rebellion on the streets and in the music from those streets.

An excellent horn riff, full and rounded like a classic ’70s brass section, dominates this tune which also has a couple of catchy vocal refrains; “Wicked Land of Cameron” and “On my way outta Babylon and I ain’t turning back”.  Despite the nod to ’70s rockers reggae, this is tune is still of the modern age, with a short dancehall break in the middle spat out as if through gritted teeth.

The first of the three remixes, from well respected dub producer Russ Disciples, whose output includes no less an artist than the legendary Jah Shaka, employs some beautiful deepness on the toms, floating the phased horns over the rest of the mix, while the bass goes sub.

The second remix, from Radikal Guru – a producer from Poland via Cork – takes a more dancey approach, bringing some elements of Dubstep to a sound that has the trademark up front drums and spacey keyboard sounds that modern dub artists such as Zion Train and Power Steppers have employed so well in the past.

Sleepy Time Ghost finishes off the EP with a laid back echoey mix in which snatched vocals float in and out, complemented by dub sirens.

It’s easy to see how in three short years, onlyjoe has developed a good reputation and garnered support from influential names on the UK dub scene.  Look out for them on a festival bill this summer!

Find out more about Only Joe on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

All words by Nathan Brown. You can read more from Nathan on LTW here.


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