August 12, 2010

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Busy Signal, D.O.B.
Bulldog Productions, Aug. 10
Autotune doesn’t have to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to music. OK, I take that back, but really, try as I might, I can’t completely hate what this Jamaica-born raggamuffin does with it, particularly in the utterly alien-sounding “Yes Dawg,” in which the effect is drawn down and barely there. That goes on a lot here; this guy’s no T-Pain, for sure, and he digs him some Latin, too, as when he interpolates Elvis Crespo’s “Suavemente” in the basic dancehaller “Busy Latino.” Electro-infused reggae is the book on this overall, and thus there’s a fructose-dripping dubby version of Phil Collins’s “One More Night” (this one’s a bit heavy on the Autotune; he could have just paranthetically titled it “Please Play On Radio” and skipped the stupidness). It helps immensely that Signal’s cartoonish but heavy baritone voice is elastic enough to survive the effect’s degradation, and when he goes bareback alongside Bounty Killer in the hip-hoppy “Summn’ A Guh Gwaan,” it’s roots nirvana. B+Eric W. Saeger