Little Roy

Reggae reworkings of emotive Kurt Cobain songs

Battle for Seattle
3/5

First Easy Star All Stars give Pink Floyd, Radiohead and the Beatles the dub-reggae refix treatment. Now this: ’60s roots singer Roy teaming up with reggae obsessive production duo Prince Fatty and the Mutant Hi-Fi to bring a spot of Caribbean-isation to the searing, emotive songcraft of Kurt Cobain.

At points, it works relatively well. There’s a ‘Ghost Town’ eeriness to the echo-y guitar lines of ‘Very Ape’, the sparse dubby bassline and gentle bongo rattle of ‘On a Plain’ preserves the original’s menace by being faithful to its pared-down dynamics and despite Roy’s vocal lacking Cobain’s hurricane-sized rasp, he manages to make a decent fist of the loneliness-flecked soul-baring of the chorus. But large chunks feel like unremarkable reggae wallpaper, with ‘Come as You Are’ the kind of fare you’d expect from ambient shopping-centre muzak retoolings of popular hits. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but it’s neither a reggae classic, nor an improvement on Cobain’s work. So who is this aimed at?

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