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Album Review: Easy Star All-Stars - Thrillah

21 September 2012 | 2:51 pm | Liz Giuffre

Easy Star All-Stars’ Thrillah, a Michael Jackson tribute that takes on MJ’s 1982 masterpiece, falls short.

Maybe it's just that it's too soon after MJ's drug-induced big sleep. Maybe it's just that the Easy Star's Dub Side Of The Moon (their 2003 Floyd offering) was just so good. Or maybe it's just that I've outgrown this 'let's do a whole album in a dub style' business. Either way, Easy Star All-Stars' Thrillah, a Michael Jackson tribute that takes on MJ's 1982 masterpiece, falls short.

First, it's as if the All Stars have given up their kick ­­– the element of surprise – with so many of the tracks falling around the same speed and approach, a smoothing of the edges of the original that is criminal. Thriller simply ain't, unfortunately, and Billie Jean just not sexy enough to match the original. Bad jokes aside (comparisons are Black Or White), at best this is MJ meets Bob Marley without the sou. The added extras, Dub It (as the name suggests, Beat It done to the Dub) and Close To Midnight, are curious additions, and don't really hit as the addition that the band hoped.

Having said all of this, like Dub Side and the rest of the Easy Star back cat, the band's commitment to the cause can't be faulted, well-played and produced as it is. And you can give them kudos for The Girl Is Mine, infinitely improved by NOT being a duet between MJ and Paul McCartney, and P.Y.T, which in the Easy Star hands is brought back from its recent mainstream Glee treatment and is returned to its original, slightly creepy glory.