Speakers and Tweeters (Defend Music)

Dub Pistols

More than a year after its U.K. release, Speakers and Tweeters, the third album from London big-beat collective the Dub Pistols, finally gets a U.S. issue. It's a charming disc, but noticeably about 10 years out of date, its mash of hip hop, house, and rock long since eclipsed by more cerebral and less populist forms of dance music.

Even for a genre that relied as heavily on samples as big beat, Speakers and Tweeters is very nearly a covers album, with a house version of Blondie's "Rapture," a dub update of John Holt's roots reggae ballad "You'll Never Find," and a rap over the Stranglers' "Peaches." The Specials' Terry Hall shows up more than once, most notably on a nearly note-for-note redo of the Specials' "Gangster." Largely a novelty by now, but also a lightweight reminder of just why people thought dance music would take over the pop charts in the late 1990s.