Review | Songlines

King Perry

Rating: ★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details


Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry & The Upsetters
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry


False Idols


When visionary dub producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry died in 2021, it came as a surprise. At 85, Perry’s energy seemed infinite, along with his colourful creativity, spiritual and political engagement, and, of course, his music. This posthumous release, created in collaboration with UK producer Daniel Boyle in the months before Perry’s death, emphasises this apparent boundlessness. Still firmly within a dub framework, the album continues to stretch the ‘Scratch’ Perry soundworld, bringing in influences and sounds from synthy big-beat to contemporary R&B, from bright, poppy beats to drum’n’bass. With a sense of cyclical reciprocity, many of these sounds are indebted to the technical and aesthetic qualities of the early dub that Perry pioneered.

The tracks on King Perry feature a host of iconic figures, including dark, dubstep-tinged sounds from producer-rapper Tricky, the smoky voice of Marta (Złakowska), laid-back pop-soul vocals from Greentea Peng, and Happy Monday’s Shaun Ryder, on a particularly playful, hip-hop-inspired song. This album is a collaborative space of musing and celebration; it is also wholly Lee Perry. King Perry ends with ‘Goodbye’, Perry’s closing word, which echoes, in true Perry fashion, to the end of the record, and into a future shaped, inevitably, by his sonic legacy.

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