Basement 5

  • Basement 5
  • 1965-1980 (Antilles) 1981 
  • In Dub (UK Island) 1981 

Basement 5 came out of Island Records’ London art department playing a blend of reggae and synth-pop under the production auspices of Martin Hannett. 1965 — 1980 waffles between both forms, never quite achieving the hoped-for marriage, but does sport a number of light ditties with heavy political overtones. The contrast between roots and futurism gives Basement 5 a fascinating, if ephemeral, flavor. Even more interesting is In Dub, a paean to Hannett’s control-booth genius, which naturally features dub versions of some material from the first LP. Bassist Leo Williams later surfaced in Big Audio Dynamite.

[Steven Grant]