You’re excused if you’ve never heard of the “Best New Band in the World.” That sobriquet, bequeathed upon the Jamaican reggae/dub/fusion band Dubtonic Kru, comes from the “Global Battle of the Bands” held last year on the opposite side of the globe, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
No doubt it’s a fine prize for the band, coming with $100,000 in cash and development prize money. But if the contest’s previous winners are any indication, don’t expect this alone to launch Dubtonic Kru into international stardom. I’m assuming you haven’t heard of bands like Kopek, Heavy Mojo, or Boys in a Band either – all past winners of the contest. (Ironically, the title itself may be a misnomer in this case: Dubtonic Kru has been around for at least 15 years.)
Listening to Dubtonic Kru’s recorded music, it’s at once hard to hear much that’s original, and easy to catch the appeal. Employing a full compliment of traditional instruments and the spacey, echoey sound-effects that typify music of this ilk, Dubtonic Kru sounds generally like every other post-Black Uhuru act on the touring circuit. They even do a fine cover of “Shine Eye Gal.”
So, if predictable reggae from unfamiliar musicians sounds like your bag, you could certainly do worse than to catch next Tuesday, June 21, when Dubtonic Kru appears live at the Top Hat.