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Burn Brothers Fire Exit

Burn Brothers Fire Exit

Burn Brothers Fire Exit

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Burn Brothers deliver a new dub poetry set, also gathering reggae and modern electronic sounds in a 2008 style!


25 years after the death of Michael Smith, it’s good to hear vintage dub poetry still making an impact on a new generation of music producers. Burn Bros are a seven piece collective of beatmakers and instrumentalists who bring together reggae and modern electronic styles under the lived in but venerable spoken tones of Guyanese born writer, former Black Power activist and Linton Kwesi Johnson contemporary Mark Matthews AKA Trampingman. Their EP Fire Exit, available from, isn’t pure reggae per se, but has imbibed enough of its spirit to be welcome in the collections of most people who love dub.

First track ‘Back On The Frontline’ sees Trampingman embark on an arresting psychogeographical ode to London, like a multi cultural version of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, soaking up his surroundings like a sponge and spitting them out rude, raw and rich with significance. After this the mood becomes more introspective for the pastoral ‘Lotus Lily’ - complete with an electronic Jews Harp. ‘This And A That’ brings a Stalag horn riff all the way up to 169 bpm, while ‘Crossing Road’ (the only tune to feature Matthews singing - over ethereal harmonies by Jess Winterstein) takes some of its cues from Teutonic electro pop. ‘You Freak Out’ puts rhythm over rhyme stream-of-consciousness (“aliens, curry, aspirins and astronauts”) to a bashment beat and a piano and harmonica groove direct from the Hacienda, before ‘Trampingman Riddim’, probably the closest thing to a straight reggae b side, sees us out.

Fire Exit is music for the bedroom, the club or the park rather than the dancehall and those who see all dub poetry as a little too removed from where it all started may view these genre shifting infusions as just another bridge too far. But if you like Clive Hunt’s epic Dub Dancers or the returns of Portishead & Tricky have piqued your interest in blunted loops and idiosyncratic voices; this well crafted, atmospheric little set could be your summer selection of choice.

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