Album Review: Various Artists – Nightly Dread

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Various Artists

Nightly Dread - One Step Outside Records

One Step Outside Records are set to release the “Nightly Dread” compilation on September 25th on CD, if you’re lucky enough to have snapped up a copy, and on the always accessible digital download, the idea behind “Nightly Dread” was that it would help musicians unable to get out and gig by giving them something to do and to raise money for Dementia UK in the process. The album follows on from the label’s 2016 “Bad Dylan” project, this time it’s a different Bob but the same idea, whereas “Bad Dylan” was one band with guest singers reinventing the nasal whine of that bob, this time “Nightly Dread” takes it to the next level as it features forty DIY artists and bands deconstructing, reworking and in some cases pretty much rewriting classics from a very different Bob.

The first taste of “Nightly Dread” is Grandmammy‘s ‘Coming In From The Cold‘, a track that somehow manages to be a simultaneous homage to both Grandaddy and Bob Marley, this unexpected opener is not the last curve ball that will be thrown at you on “Nightly Dread“. Bad Marley And The Wasters contribution is of course one that captures the spirit of the compilation, as does a truly unhinged fairground nightmare interpretation of ‘Get Up Stand Up‘ from Bobby Stickah. There are further unpredictable additions from Wet Camper and Marty And Molly, but the prize must go to the disorientating, almost psychedelic C&D who twist ‘Real Situation‘ into something almost unrecognisable.

Given this album was recorded during lockdown there are of course stripped back acoustic renditions, the haunting piano led tracks by Carol Hodge and Miranda Arieh hit the spot, whilst the Johnny Marr-esque jangly take from Rob Luthor is another track that takes the album in an unexpected direction. Mousebrass, Lewis Jack Inman, Speed Dinosaurs and Joe Crocker‘s mellow ukulele interpretations sit in stark comparison to the eccentric Ben Fox and the emotional acoustic contributions from Tragical History Tour and Katie MF. There are of course the more familiar folk punk takes on the material that come from AJ Simmonds, RMG, Hanny J, Simon Wells, Rob Galloway, Simon Walker, Jimbob Marley and Captain Hotknives, who drastically reinterpret the lyrics of No Woman No Cry to ‘Posh Munters On Ket‘.

Amongst the strange, the fast and the acoustic there are those who stayed true to the reggae roots of the original material, Tim Loud and Zach Freeman both take “Nightly Dread” into dub territory, Pitch And Toss, Billy Billy 5p, Joe Solo, Sky Fallers and The Hollow Men all serve up a mellow skank whilst Hayley Gaftarnick and Alex Wonk & The Fooken Toucans capture the true spirit of original songs. Reassuringly “Nightly Dread” of course contains punk bands doing what they have always done to classic songs, speeding them up and blasting them out, (get up) stand up Andy Dazzler, Roughneck RiotStöj Snak and The Crash MatsBrick Shithouse alternate the speed and skank whilst Sick And Bob bring to mind a cross between Ian Dury, Chas & Dave and Snuff. The album appropriately closes with a heartfelt ‘Redemption Song‘ from Trashy P., a fitting way to end this epic compilation and a worthy addition to the well known versions by Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash.

Nightly Dread” is a truly original compilation, unless you count the “Bad Dylan” project of course, you get a range of material you’re unlikely to encounter on any other tribute album, undoubtedly you will encounter new bands that you will love, alongside with the flip side of the emotion. You are never going to love everything on a compilation like this but there really is something for everyone on here. If you grab a copy of “Nightly Dread” you get the the warm glow of knowing that not only have you wisely purchased a varied and unpredictable compilation, you’ve also supported a great cause that makes a huge difference to the lives of families who have been impacted by dementia, families like One Step Outside Records founder Alex’s and my own.

You can pre-order “Nightly Dread” via Bandcamp here