It’s always around this season, when the sun returns to our grey shores that uplifting music reappears as if to reaffirm our faith in life beyond rain. Dreadzone are one such band who epitomise summer with their chilled-out, soulful vibe and it is with no small amount of pleasure that we popped ‘Eye on the horizon’ into the CD player and found that the five years that elapsed between recordings have done nothing to dull their ability to pen a memorable tune.
Opening with the sublime ‘tomorrow never comes’, Dreadzone remind us once again why they were once so touted by the late John Peel, as they combine their myriad influences with style and verve to create a tune that could as surely soundtrack a summer BBQ with friends as get a whole field of festival urchins moving. It’s utterly irresistible and the perfect opening track. ‘For a reason’ is a more straight forward track, maintaining the vibe, but less inspiring than the first track. ‘Changes’ is a great song, on the other hand, all blessed-out beats and echoing vocals. ‘American dread’ is classic Dreadzone – featuring cut up samples, militant American music and glorious vocals – even tapping into a Beck vibe with some nice southern slide guitar!
Just as you’ve settled in to the sound of a band content to let the music flow gently around you, ‘beyond a rock’ kicks in with a pure old-school rock riff that relives the heady days of the Beastie Boys when they still remembered what rock was. ‘Gangster’, meanwhile, is totally mental – drifting along on nursery rhyme melodies and incongruous 70’s soul backing vocals – it’s an awesome track and surrounded with the sense of fun that makes Dreadzone so special. ‘Eye on the horizon’ is sinister dub-step with creepy samples and soulful vocals laid over the top. ‘My face’, on the other hand, is a more chilled out affair with brass samples thrown into the mix for another track that almost demands sunshine as the perfect accompaniment. ‘Walk tall’ is a ballad, with acoustic guitars and a glorious melody. Final track ‘Just let go’ appears all too soon to close the album and it’s a massively chilled out track that sees the album out on a high.
‘Eye on the horizon’ is one of those rare albums that leaves you feeling relaxed and absurdly positive. Beautifully produced and played, it is the perfect album for a summer’s evening and yet it is more than that too. The music is played with verve and precision, with no elements thrown in without good reason. The genre-hopping, too, could be a weak point in the hands of a lesser band, but Dreadzone manage the transition from dub, to rock to dub-step with consummate ease making the whole album flow naturally rather than sound forced. A worthwhile trip from a band who have returned not a moment too soon.