We gave it a B+
In 2003, the Easy Star All-Stars made stoner history with Dub Side of the Moon, a skanking hijack of the Pink Floyd classic. The disc made nutty sense: Floyd’s Zen-like approach to space rock had a lot in common with roots reggae’s hazy throb. The New York crew’s latest project is Radiodread, a song-by-song remake of Radiohead’s 1997 album, OK Computer, featuring cameos by Jamaican stars like Toots & the Maytals, Horace Andy, and Frankie Paul. It’s hard to imagine Radiohead’s unwieldy prog riffs and odd meters surviving the dub translation — but it works. Partly, it’s just a function of how well built the source material is: ”Karma Police” makes a great antiauthority anthem, no matter the musical setting (though Easy Star’s clavinet-laden, Marley-style cover is appropriately ominous). Radiodread, however, develops the concept beyond mere reggae-karaoke. The All-Stars’ high-stepping take on ”Electioneering” reveals a surprisingly soulful melody, previously hidden behind the original’s clanging guitars. The most radical, and best, track is ”Let Down.” Fueled by Toots Hibbert’s grainy gospel fervor, it turns Yorke and company’s anguished ballad into an uplifting rocksteady tune. It’s that kind of bold refashioning that makes Radiodread feel less like a covers album than some long-lost roots-reggae gem.