album reviews

Long Beach Dub Allstars

Wonders of the World


Medical miracle workers can transplant a heart when the old one fails, giving new life to a patient. The new heart will beat on, but can never fully replace the original. The ex-group Sublime lost its pumping heart with former lead singer Brad Nowell’s death in 1996. The remaining members gained new lead singer Opie Ortiz, and the band evolved into the Long Beach Dub Allstars. Though the band’s body lives on, its heart is sometimes a beat or two off.

On “”Wonders of the World,”” the Allstars bring 17 tracks of fun in the sun. Their music blends upbeat punk, reggae and rap with a tinge of pop. Through rhythmic beats and psychedelic effects, they amass the three styles of music into a colorful cornucopia of OK music.

“”Sunny Hours”” is the catch tune and has enjoyed heavy rotation on major radio stations nationwide. Featuring Will.I.Am of the Black Eye Peas, this track is conducive to rhythmic head bopping. With a Sugar Ray-esque flavor, this song keeps it fun.

The Allstars offer modified reggae in tracks like “”It Ain’t Easy,”” “”Listen To DJ’s”” and “”Talkin’ The Truth.”” The latter track features Paulie Selekta from The Burn Unit; whether his presence actually contributes to the music is questionable.

Their SoCal punk side arises in tracks like “”Lies,”” featuring I-Man of Capitol Eye, and “”Every Mother’s Dream.”” Chaotic instrumentals and vocal straining blend into a cacophonous melody of music.

Though most of the tracks are upbeat and best enjoyed at a sunny barbecue, songs like “”Life Goes On,”” featuring Half Pink, Ives and other rappers, show that the Allstars know how to induce chill. Soulful vocals offer a glimpse into the mellow side of this band.

They’re not Sublime. The Long Beach Dub Allstars have brought their own philosophy into music. Ortiz believes that “”it would be a better world if people would just cheer up a little,”” and this credo is seen in his music. If only the album were as good as his humanitarian intentions.

— Eugene Kym

Contributing Writer




The boys from the South, P.O.D., are back with the much-anticipated follow-up album to their 1999 release, “”The Fundamental Elements of Southtown.””

Possibly their finest work to date, “”Satellite”” explodes with the sounds of cross-cultural power rock. P.O.D. successfully blends hip-hop, hardcore, reggae and rock once again on their second major recording.

“”Satellite”” covers a wide scope of genres, all of which induce various emotions.

“”All the great rock bands were always driven by passion and emotion,”” states Marcos, the band’s versatile guitarist. “”Whether it’s a negative passion and emotion or a positive passion and emotion. But to us, we always put all of our love and everything that we have into our music.””

The feel-good rock anthem “”Alive”” lifts our spirits and prompts the listener to reflect on the beauty of life. The old-school title song “”Satellite”” is reminiscent of ’80s rock with a twist of hardcore.

“”Youth of the Nation”” addresses youth issues and was written in response to the March 5 shooting at Santana High School in Santee, Calif. The moods of “”Satellite”” range from joyful to distressing, always provoking and challenging the listener to be real.

Sonny (vocals), Marcos (guitars), Traa (bass), and Wuv (drums) have been rocking audiences with their unique musical style since 1992. Coming from the city of San Ysidro, Calif., near the U.S.-Mexico border, “”Satellite”” allowed them to incorporate an infinite variety of textures and styles into their already diverse sound.

“”We do what we know is right for us and that’s it,”” Sonny said. “”We don’t go out there and give a sermon when we get on stage — we don’t shove anything down anybody’s throat. But we sing about what’s real in our lives, and that’s the bottom line.””

P.O.D.’s uncompromising lyrics and outstanding production on “”Satellite”” lifts spirits with a positive vibe and rocks our world, provoking us to reevaluate everything that is important in our lives.

— Marisa Gutierrez

Contributing Writer

The Strokes

Is This It


The Strokes aren’t sure what decade it is. “”Is This It”” blends ’90s pop rock with a ’70s groove on an album that sounds like it was recorded on equipment from the ’50s.

Their Web site says that they dress like “”their clothes from the ’70s and the ’80s fell into the same hamper.””

The New York fivesome got together in 1998 and played the NY scene for nearly a year before taking off in the UK charts. The United States is now coming to appreciate The Strokes’ unique sound.

Watching the video of their first single, “”Last Nite,”” one gets a good sense of what this band is all about.

A still camera films the band on a ’70s-style sound stage. Lead singer Julian Casablancas thrashes about with a beer in hand, seemingly unaware that the making of a music video is in process. These guys could be the genesis of a whole new kind of rock star.

The album manages to hold its sound throughout.

Casablancas’ fuzzy vocals are at times tiresome, at times brilliant. “”Someday”” features Casablancas at his best; his vocals are effortless and the lyrics rather than the vocals carry the song with ironically brilliant declarations like, “”Promises, they break before they’re made sometimes,”” and, “”I’m working so I don’t have to try so hard””.

Each of the rock songs offered up by The Strokes is refreshingly different than most of the rock on the shelves right now, and accordingly “”Is This It”” is a necessary addition to any rock fan’s collection.

Although the album lacks a ballad and could have been helped by a few slower songs to mix up the tempo, it’s still a must-have.

It is refreshing to come across a band that writes music in spite of the current sound instead of in line with it.

The Strokes are innovators, not imitators.

Or maybe they are just oblivious — either way, they put out a great rock album.

— David Bynum

Staff Writer

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