Monday, 2 May 2011

Review : Lee Scratch Perry - Rise Again

Now I DID post a full review of this album online the very day the bastards at Google decided to mess Blogger up and remove my posts from the last few days, without bothering to make sure that the posts have been restored. So I'm going to give them ANOTHER chance. I really don't see why I should, in fact I have the right mind to pack up all my stuff, do a lot of copying and pasting and moving this whole blog over to Wordpress. But in the meantime, in terms of the Lee 'Scratch' Perry review, I (luckily) had the sense to save a backed-up version of the review just in case the Google amateurs lost my work.  

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry is probably the most innovative and legendary living figure in the world of reggae music, and now aged 74 he releases his sixth album in three years. 'Rise Again' is in collaboration with producer Bill Laswell, and sometimes you get the impression that maybe Perry was (as usual) in too much of a marijuana-fuelled haze to contribute more than his share to this record. The opening tracks 'Higher Level' and 'Scratch Massage' are slow moving slices of roots reggae, with deep basslines and omnipresent brass, while 'Orthodox' is a definite highlight: still more roots than what I was expecting, but it's the first time any identifiable dub sounds make an appearance.

On 'Wake The Dead' Scratch is rambling about blood and fire wiping the governments and "parasites", and on the title track we get the most dub-soaked song on the record, with a deep repetitive bassline and lots of neat clicks and echoes, although a lot less than I would've liked. And perhaps it has too much lyrical rambling to work effectively as a dub track, but an edited remix would definitely be a good thing.

'African Revolution' is built on a typically nutty Perry rhythm, but sadly features more guest vocalists than Perry himself. Plus the chorus is just stupid. 'Dancehall Kung Fu' has an interesting funk/ska backdrop but is also weighed down by the fact that Perry sounds like a guest vocalist on his own record. Then there's utter nonsense like 'ET' ("ET, ET come from outer space. He gonna build another race") and the equally ridiculous 'Inakaya (Japanese Food)' where Perry has considered it a sensible idea to sing lyrics like "Japanese food give you good mood".

Overall this album is pretty good, pretty strange and lyrically very random. the first half of the album is definitely the stronger and the second half seems to be lacking in something. Maybe a sense of quality control. But for a very stoned man in his 70s to still be bringing out records like this is rather impressive. 6.5/10 

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