Review Summary: With his new direction in hand, Manuva creates an extremely average release.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
Realistically speaking it’s a huge hurdle to topple an amazing debut. Many artists have yet to touch their superb debut efforts. A few come to mind – Tricky’s ‘Maxinquaye’, Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten’, Nas’ ‘Illmatic’, the list goes on. So when Roots Manuva released ‘Run Come Save Me’ I was a bit apprehensive for more than one reason. His dark vibes were all almost gone, but his biting lyrical style was still sufficient enough for it to be solid. Not exactly a huge disappointment, but noted above I expected to be letdown. ‘Dub Come Save Me’ would be the first remix album that Roots Manuva would bring out on one of his albums. As the title states it’s a twist from his previous album ‘Run Come Save Me’ with huge dub influences. It’s enough to note this isn’t considered a LP, merely a remix album by Manuva and other producers.
It’s quite unfortunate to see something like this. I’m not a huge fan of dub and I find it interesting in some ways, but Roots Manuva really wrecks havoc on his remixed tracks. Most of these tracks aren’t taken exactly from ‘Run Come Save Me’, but Roots Manuva might as well place them in. The first half of this album is extremely shaky at best; not only are most of the tracks flooded with mediocre dub they aren’t good tracks to begin with. “Styles Dub” is a nearly 5 minute journey of problems and boredom. The dub beat that carries it is tremendously tedious and unneeded. I understand the need to litter these tracks with his new direction, but it just doesn’t work for most of the first half of this album. The one track that saves some face on the first half of this album is by far “Highest Grade Dub” its reggae dub influences throughout the track is effective and not nearly as problematic as the others inhabited in the first half.
The second half is like an entirely new album. Not only is it far more consistent and bearable, but it’s actually good. ‘Tears’ where Manuva prevails using the dub atmosphere, along with the instrumentals that aren’t anything near as atrocious as “Styles Dub”, “Dream Days” (alternate non-vocal version of “Dreamy Days”) isn’t tiresome. “The Lynch” finally finds Manuva in a comfortable position to allow his free flowing lyrics blend with the beat. “Brand New Dub” is another instrumental dub, reggae induced number that works well and it quietly progresses through the entire track with finesse. Finally “Witness Dub” is another take on the fantastic track “Witness (1 Hope)” from ‘Run Come Save Me’. The electronic and dub movements throughout the track work oddly enough with an already superb track. Spiraling in and out the track uses parts of the background vocals in the original song and covers it with massive amounts of dub and electronic noise.
Much like his sophomore effort, Roots Manuva is too inconsistent throughout this remix album for it to be memorable like his debut. ‘Dub Come Save Me’ like its predecessor has a few hidden gems that are extremely addictive, but as a cohesive unit is shaky and unravels from the beginning. Fortunately for Manuva the 2nd half of ‘Dub Come Save Me’ actually works with good results.