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Album review of Balkan Beat Box's 'Give'

The reggae-inflected, world music of Balkan Beat Box tends to either move listeners to take up arms or else it annoys the living hell out of them. 'Give' is no exception.

Balkan Beat Box
Nat Geo Music

By Patrick Prince

Balkan Beat Box’s world music/reggae-inflected songs (or what the band calls “globalized electronica”) cause movement. The New York-based trio can move the listener to take up arms or annoy the living hell out of them. That’s just truth.

Multi-cultural sounds come racing in from everywhere — and either they sort themselves into harmony and/or discord. Sometimes it feels revolutionary. And sometimes it feels just plain goofy.

Balkan Beat Box Give

BBB is at its best when it is more caustic and edgy. Fans of Big Audio Dynamite will probably like — or at least respect — what Balkan Beat Box is doing. That is, if they’re not aware of the band already.

The album “Give” is packed with hard-hitting, provocative songs that groove with weirdly organized sounds and profound statements. “Political F**k,” “Porno Clown,” “Urge To Be Violent,” “Enemy in Economy” (frontman Tomer Yosef’s experience of being mistaken for a terrorist by the TSA) and “No Man’s Land” are proof of this. They are the gems here. In fact, I could see “No Man’s Land” as a great Clash song, if it were stripped of a lot of its glossy production. It’s just when the sounds, beats and samples become almost like cheerleading chirps that you want to call the pop music police to extinguish the flames.

Proceed and enjoy — but with caution.