Music Reviews
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad

Love in Time

Easy Star Records

Kudos on the band name — it hits most of the musical hot buttons in my personal world of weird. These guys sound like they come from Central Africa or maybe Ghana, but a reading of the press release reveals they hail from Rochester, New York, which in my admittedly limited experience is not a hotbed of Island Music. They sound completely Island based, and it’s an almost textbook example of Rasta rhythm, Caribbean vocals, and a gentle, positive world view.

Lead vocalist James Searl sets the tone, and he has the beat and the accent and the entire vibe down perfectly. The album was largely assembled during the height of the pandemic, and it’s a stellar product. As I float down the track list, there’s a ghost of Bob Marley hovering over it, yet these cuts are all distinctive, creative, and pleasing to the ear.

Opening track “Most Men” decries the worship of worldly goods and the evils of poverty and praises cooperation. It’s heavily layered with rhythm, sampling, and Jah love. Next, we encounter “Chants (featuring Clinton Fearon).” Mr. Fearon believes in love and spirituality, hopes for a better tomorrow, and advocates the “Freedom Dance.” Now I’m floating downstream, hoping some friendly ganga might appear. Later on we sail into another collaborative tune, “Champion (featuring Double Tiger). It’s a straight reggae rhythm with layered vocals.

And the great appeal of this entire style is the social justice revolution mixed with the relaxed aftereffects of the holy herb. It’s relaxing to the point of missing the revolution. We all had a good time. We can reform the sinners tomorrow.

Find James Searl on episode 004 of New Music Now, Ink 19’s music discovery podcast, with Julius C. Lacking and DJ Kayla Kush.

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad


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