The Takebacks are a collaborative effort by "a garbage man, city electrician and a state custodian," but lessons learned from those occupations don't appear to have had much influence on the trio's eclectic output. Reggae, early punk and post-punk all figure in the threesome's current work, and to their credit, the group rarely travels the same path twice on its new album Call Collect Ask For... the Takebacks.
For those partial to the easy throbbing of Augustus Pablo -- and I count myself among that tribe -- you can't do much better than the hazy, melodica-laced "Preacher," a toothsome slice of dub-influenced grooving that owes a debt to the blissful blowing of the late reggae instrumentalist.
Well, at least it does in the first half. Because just as you expect the Takebacks to drift away on a billowy cloud of ganja smoke, they turn things around and rumble into a heavier, more abstract break that recalls the tense, Rust Belt weirdness of Pere Ubu's early recordings as well as the more experimental portions of the Clash's Sandinista!.
A final, echo-laden coda salutes Kingston's more creative recording studios as well, which, of course, is no hardship for the inveterate dub fan. But again, post-punk-shaded reggae isn't the only arrow in the Takebacks' big quiver. Got a hankering for skewed proto-punk that mirrors Richard Hell and the Voidoids' carefully modulated caterwauling? They've got you covered. Great tune, good album, smart band.
An MP3 of the track is available in the related downloads at right. More music by the band can be found at its MySpace page. The Takebacks are playing an early show with Crane Your Swan Neck on the Memorial Union Terrace on Tuesday, August 5.
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