Daniel Lanois  has already had a pretty remarkable year, with high-profile production gigs on albums by Brandon Flowers  of the Killers  and Neil Young , who titled his latest, "Le Noise," in honor of his partner's crucial creative contribution. (He also has a hardcover memoir out this month for readers thirsty for details regarding his collaborations with such acts as Bob Dylan  and U2 .) Black Dub, though-where the producer is joined by bassist Daryl Johnson, drummer Brian Blade and singer Trixie Whitley (daughter of the late Chris Whitley )-might be Lanois' most impressive project yet. On its excellent self-titled debut, the Los Angeles-based act offers up an adventurous and deeply funky brand of soul-steeped roots music. As in any Lanois production, the instrumental textures are worth savoring on their own; check out the loping reggae groove during "Nomad" or the shimmering guitar sparkles in opener "Love Lives." Yet Black Dub has real songs, too, none more memorable than "Surely," a gorgeous ballad Whitley sings like some forgotten Motown star.
- Album Review