Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry: Heavy Rain review – Dub legend continues to push boundaries

Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 05:15

   
 

Album:
Heavy Rain

Artist:
Lee "Scratch" Perry

Label:
On-U Sound

Genre:
Reggae

I caught a Lee “Scratch” Perry show in Los Angeles four years ago and I’m not ashamed to say that though the diminutive Jamaican with the dyed red beard is almost five decades older than me, he was still on stage when I tapped out and slunk back to my Airbnb. Now 83 years old, there’s no evidence that Scratch is ready to slow down. With a clutch of records dropped, 2019 has been one of the busiest years of his fabled career.

Heavy Rain is the dub companion to Scratch’s recently released Rainford album, with co-producer Adrian Sherwood reimagining that project in a radical bass-heavy style. Songs like the Brian-Eno-featuring Here Come the Warm Dreads – a rehash of Makumba Rock – are thick slabs of gloopy, heavily screwed dub reggae bliss.

There are also two new cuts in Dreams Come True and Above And Beyond, the latter of which features an odd concoction of reggae rhythm patterns and sharp-edged strings. This deep into his career, Scratch seems determined to leave no boundary unpushed.