DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV are a seven-piece band from Bosnia who fuse hip-hop, reggae, dub, rock and Bosnian folk music into a highly danceable and infectious groove.
Yeah – that’s right …. Bosnian folk music!
It sounds like a weird combination I grant you, but once you get over the notion of it being an early Nineties Euro disco song that you’d hear on your holidays, it actually works! And with the band having honed their musical prowess in the basement shelters during the siege of Sarajevo, they come armed with messages for political change. But I’m not big on Bosnian / Balkan politics, so will just concentrate on the music.
There is the danger of it being interpreted as a bit ‘cheezy’ – especially as I already alluded, with listeners who have been subjected to some truly awful Euro disco sounds while on holiday. Indeed, the second track in ‘Euro Song,’ could easily be mistaken for a genuine Eurovision Song Contest entry. I for one was quite sceptical, but on viewing the lyric-video below I realised it is all a bit ofa piss-take … and a dig at the political leaders of various European countries for not accepting Bosnia as true members of the Euro Community …. until it comes to Eurovision!
But if you consider how the likes of Gogol Bordello made ‘gypsy punk’ popular and other more mainstream punk bands seem to be experimenting with the incorporation of more acoustic sounds, then you’ve got to hand it to DUBIOZA KOLEKTIV for complete originality.
I should perhaps stress to those doubters that the Balkan Folk sound is used more as an ancillary to the more conventional beats and rhythms. There are, for instance some huge, chunky guitar riffs thrown in, much in the style of Adequate 7 and their take on punk-funk. There are reggae grooves aplenty and the dub effects are used to bolster the overall sound in several places. The vocals on ‘Warning’ even sound a little like the raga-rock of Benji from Skindred at certain points.
There are contrasting moods too – like the ska-ridden chirpiness of U.S.A. and then the dark, heavy and somewhat oppressive sound of closing track, ‘90’s Surprise.’
And that’s what this album is essentially – one big surprise. One well worth exploring.
(Released through Koolarrow Records on 13th September 2011)
(8 / 10)