Jeremy Dubs | Speak!

The Bureau (2011)
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  November 16, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Normally, Jeremy Dubs co-heads Bunnies, whose aural designs emanate from an alternate future of classic rock, evoking ecstatic awe and/or divine terror — a seriously crazy band. Paradoxically, if you play Dubs's Speak! alongside your mom's Josh Groban Christmas album, she would say something like, "This sure is a warm, cozy, album that doesn't blow my mind at all. Let's drink hot cocoa!" In fact, on the Northamptonian's inaugural solo offering, he channels the consciousness-expanding inclinations that spark the proggy madness of Bunnies into a far more approachable variety of whimsy. Speak! was fashioned as an imaginary conversation between Dubs and late John Lennon crony Harry Nilsson, crossing the dimensional threshold via synth covers of Nilsson standbys. At the suggestion of longtime Bunnies advocate and Bureau label-head Frank Black, Dubs fleshed out the project with a few originals. But nothing on Speak! feels like a Xerox. At least one reviewer who usually finds Nilsson's minimalist folk ditties sort of featureless and patronizing was swiftly won over by Dubs's cloudy electric nuance — particularly multi-layered vocals that are simultaneously familiar and otherworldly.
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