by Asian Dub Foundation


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It's always strange when bands that have invented a new sound settle on a songwriting routine, especially if they are as ferocious as Asian Dub Foundation, but it's also unavoidable. On Punkara, the group still sounds like a bunch of rebels who are here to bring down the musical conventions of the Western world and then proceed to a full-scale revolution, but they also follow the conventions they've established themselves -- off-beat reggae rhythms are fused with almost jungle-like electronic beats, punkish guitars are buried under Middle Eastern folk instruments, and heavily accented voices spit out rants that manage to combine vehement social criticism with a relaxed feel-good atmosphere. This is textured, multi-layered work that is similar to a Syrian bazaar, a leftist rally, and a beach party at once -- a real song of globalization -- but it lacks the element of surprise. The first albums by Asian Dub Foundation felt like a window into a world that gets almost no representation on the Western pop scene, but by the time of Punkara, the window has been open for over a decade, and most of those interested have already looked out of it. A couple of relatively new tricks appear here, such as the Brit-rock-sounding "Target Practice" and some dreamier, trippier interludes, but they don't add much to the album. However, it's not fair to fault the band for repeating themselves, because their goal never was to be something new, but only to give voice to the musical alternative that the "developing world" has to offer. Punkara pales in comparison to the Asian Dub Foundation's best work simply because it's over-conscious of that presence -- something neither the Rafi's Revenge, with its primeval rioting, nor the epic Community Music could be accused of -- but it still does what it's supposed to do, and remains tight and powerful enough to be enjoyed for what it is.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/01/2008
Label: Imports
UPC: 4571260580336
catalogNumber: 1312519
Rank: 247193

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