Earlier this year, David "Moose" Adamson finally abandoned the Jookabox name that followed him through solo and full band projects in favor of three letters, DMA, which also happen to be his initials. It isn’t the only abandonment to be found on his cassette release, Drem Beb. Gone is the pep of Jookabox on the new release, replaced with grimy hip-pop akin to M.I.A. or neglected Australian outfit The Bumblebeez.
Drem Beb kicks off with the static-drenched “Riding Holiday,” which features a Dirty South melody gnarled by annoying repetition. It’s not the beat but the length that wears out Adamson’s DMA welcome, and that's a problem that plagues the whole of Drem Beb. Much of the album is overly simplistic, and while its release as a cassette makes it ready-made for ghetto blasters and dusty tape deck, few parties will get started on the strength of Drem Beb's beats.
“IKND” stands to serve as the example to which the rest of Drem Beb cannot measure, its blend of slo-mo dancehall and slap bass being both accessible and experimental.
As an album of cut-and-paste hip-hop, Drem Beb misses out on the heart and soul that lent that genre its loyal fanbase. The tape has its catchy moments, but Adamson’s new direction would be served by a healthy coating of Jookabox sheen. The two sides of Adamson’s personality can, and should, exist as one.
Hear: "Riding Holiday" from Drem Beb (via Joyful Noise Recordings)