DUB-321 – I Don’t Care Too Much For Reggae – Album Review by David Shaw

Cocoa Beach, Florida powerhouse Miles Galli of Dub-321 created an entire 19 track album wholly on his own. “I Don’t Care Too Much For Reggae,” an obvious Sublime reference, is the culmination of over a decade of writing, producing, and mixing. Some of this music was written over a decade ago, some while Galli was in prison, and some as recently as within the last year. This grungy and punky reggae-rock album is a rollercoaster…or rather a “carousel” of musical fortitude, with its ups and downs ranging from laid-back tracks and vocals to punk-rock heavy breakdowns (sometimes all in one song).

Galli’s vocals and musical style are reminiscent of a combination of Bradley Nowell’s punky and grunge instrumental breakdowns and Sublime’s use of turntable scratching and audio sampling, combined with Slightly Stoopid’s Kyle McDonald’s smooth and falsetto voice. All of which can be heard in the strong opening track, Movin’ On, along with a fabulous saxophone solo over VOX-sampled audio clips.

One of the reasons for the extreme length of this incredible album is the number of covers Galli has made his own; all choices inspired by his biggest influences in punk and grunge rock. He not only has one, but two versions of Blink-182’s Dammit, both well-suited reggae sounding covers with one version more chill and the other (Punk Vamp Version) the same but ending with a super-punked out drum beat and guitar riff during the final chorus. His choice of covers definitely brings out that huge punk influence that makes Dub-321 stand out from other reggae bands, even in the Florida reggae scene too. More cover choices include the rapid and heavy sounds of NOFX with Stickin’ In My Eye and their more casual-sounding Linoleum, both perfectly mastered.

Nirvana is one of Galli’s top influences and he decided to pay tribute to them by producing two covers. Breed sounds exactly like the original, showcasing that Galli’s voice can range from calm and tenor to raspy and grungy, akin to Kurt Cobain’s. The most unique cover is Something In The Way, which was originally a very slow and drawn out song; however, Galli decided to change it up and wrote all original music to Nirvana’s lyrics, while adding a variation of his own original lyrics to the chorus to give this speedy track a flavor of even more ingenuity. He also inserted audio samples from Nirvana songs Territorial Pissings and Tourette’s, to give it a psychedelic montage flair which Cobain was big on.

The major component of bringing the songs on this album to fit together so cohesively, like the pieces in a puzzle, is the variety of different types of tunes throughout the entire album. Some reggae fans prefer the repetitive and relaxing sounds of Stick Figure, while others prefer the faster-paced and lyrically-driven Bumpin’ Uglies’ tunes. “I Don’t Care Too Much For Reggae” gives listeners a balance of both sounds in a medley of fine-tuned works of musical reggae art. Songs like Carousel and A Song For Helene (both written this year), along with Good Intentions, Your Love/My Life and But Anyway, bring about that more chill vibe, while tunes like Over Me and Say Your Goodbyes encapsulate both chill and heavier adjustments in the instrumentation. And then you have Outta Control and several of the heavy punk and grunge covers that are faster-paced while bringing about nostalgia for songs we grew up with before getting into reggae.

Galli also brings back Dub-321 fan-favorite, FLA, acoustic style on this album, while still bumping the bass-heavy, with a steady mellow drum beat. The lyrics for any Floridian listeners are very reminiscent of the beachy lifestyle of coastal Florida. Another unique track is Dub-321’s only collaboration on this album, $hine Eyed Girl, a very dubby and rhythmic melody, which included Christian Glomb of Jersey’s Ill Rendition on a verse.

The most recent single release just before the album came out, Revolution, was released amidst the George Floyd riots, and was actually written in 2008, Galli said, but he was already in the middle of producing it during the protests. The song, which starts with audio of news clips from the Minneapolis protests is evocative of Sublime’s April 29, 1992, and lyrically is parallel to America’s current racial situation. “It was so fitting I decided to make it a tribute and also a sort of musical time capsule with a piece of history in it,” Galli had to say.

Much of the songs on this album were songs Galli wrote in prison and are some of the most powerful lyrically written pieces on this album. Your Love/My Life, Forsaken Dub, Something in The Way, But Anyway and Shine Eyed Girl, were all written in prison, Galli told me. Since his release, Galli has released 2019’s “Braving Babylon” and a handful of singles, all mostly his sole production. The one-man band that is Dub-321 has struggled to hold onto a singular lineup for too long, which prompted most of Galli’s decision-making to go ahead and produce this album solo.

“I was released from a four-year prison term, just over two years ago, which was a culmination of an opiate addiction that stemmed from a surgery I had. I’m now over 6 years clean of opiates. I started the band right back up when I got released but I have struggled to find a group of dedicated musicians to perform my music live with me. I had what I thought was a permanent bassist and drummer up until about August of last year. All splits were amicable but since then I have been hiring people to play with me live on an almost gig-to-gig basis. The struggle is real, but I put all of this music out because I’ve written a ton of content and it would never get out there for people to hear if I was still sitting around waiting for that right group to come together. That’s why I go ahead and record it all myself. The plan is hopefully one day the right people come along and will always be the ones playing alongside me live.”

It is my hope as a piece of music, reggae, and Dub-321 fan that Galli’s dreams come true because this album is an inspirational testament to what hard work, dedication, and absolute love for music should sound like, even if you have to fly solo.

 

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