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Stand High Patrol - A Matter of Scale

Stand High Patrol - A Matter of Scale

Stand High Patrol - A Matter of Scale

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A New Direction for the Brest Dub Trio


Stand High Patrol has been known for their commitment to dub since they first put together their sound system in Brest a number of years ago. With their second full album, A Matter of Scale is a shift in their musical direction; the first seven songs on this new work are each cool, tempered reggae—and the electronic effects remain always in the background.

Stand HighThe first half of A Matter of Scale emphasizesa new-found commitment to slow, highly restrained reggae. I did not expect this, but it is an intriguing choice for Rootystep, MacGyver, and the singer Pupajim.  The smooth jazz, muted trumpet sounds in A Matter of Style’sTempest and Geography, and reigned-in reggae of Routine or No Matter How Long It Takes, caught me by surprise. The lyrics mostly are of small issues, which has its own appeal.

Pupajim’s reedy voice and the backing sounds by Rootystep and MacGyver (a great name for a dub operator) lets us know that, yes, this is the same sound system trio that has driven to Dub Festival and Electrochoc (listen to the wonderful Overloaded Truck to learn the work it takes to haul a sound system to a gig). This is the same band that gave us the exciting electro-Revolutionaries cu Midnight Walkers and the eerie The Big Tree. But they are making a new statementhere with a return to roots reggae,softer reggae and they have the courage not to hide these changes.

This album has an arc to it however—the second half returns to their sense of “dubadub,” their own word for the eclectic style that characterized Midnight Walkers, their first long player.If ever a dub album was influence by ragga, it was Midnight Walkers (2012). It was if Anthony Red RosesFever and Tenor Saw’s Ring the Alarm had risen from the past and updated to 21st century dub. If you prefer Stand High Patrol’s dubadub muskateerz approach, the second half of the album is for you. The heavy, insistent subbase on The Tunnel or Warehouse is there, as are some new gadget sounds— and yet even here there seems to be a sense of restraint, of musical care, as if their new direction is one of a serious exploration even in the most dancehall and dubstep pieces.

This is an interesting, very good album and with a lot of great sounds. It’s just something surprising coming out of Brittany.A Matter of Scale comes via the band’s own label, Stand High Records. Distribution is by Differ-ant and Finetunes. Of special note is some really fine pen-and-ink album cover work by Kazy Uscleff who has done all the artwork for Stand High Records for over five years. This is a very nice cover of a very intriguing twist of style for the men from Brest, Stand High Patrol.

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