Ever since Icehouse frontman Iva Davies met reggae legend Peter Tosh of The Wailers fame, he has been influenced by the musical genre. On Icehouse’s live record Dubhouse, Davies manages to realise that dream.

The performances were captured during the group’s two intimate shows in Melbourne and Sydney in 2013, where they had promised a dance-hall party of dub via reggae and pop.

The record has 11 fun tracks including covers, mash-ups, and original Icehouse tunes reinterpreted with long jams, slow beats, and Caribbean dance flavours. It’s an interesting mix that can elicit smiles and dancing just as much as cries or questions, as the band tackle sacred anthems like ‘Great Southern Land’.

But at its worst, the collection verges on self-indulgent. While ‘Electric Blue’ welcomes some sashaying percussion, ‘Hey, Little Girl’ is a misfire with too many lyrics squashed into a slow beat, resulting in a laboured delivery that loses the track’s original sweetness.

That said, the group includes impressive covers Bob Marley’s ‘Exodus’ and ‘Could You Be Loved’ along with Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’. The Icehouse original ‘Can’t Help Myself’ is epic, starting as a slow ballad before transforming into something closer to The Specials rather than the new wave original.

Thanks to some layered grooves and subtle walls of sound, Dubhouse sees the collection of Icehouse tunes reinvigorated with new life. It’s pleasant enough, but one can’t help but think that a live compilation of their own Primitive Man and Man Of Colours tours would’ve been better.

Originally published on 13 February 2014 at the following website:

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