Lee Perry, Dennis Bovell & the On-U Soundsystem vs Pempi - Ironman [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Lee Perry, Dennis Bovell & the On-U Soundsystem vs Pempi

Ironman [12-inch] (2010)

On-U Sound

Released by famed producer Adrian Sherwood, this Black Sabbath cover by titanic reggae producer/performer Lee "Scratch" Perry, famed reggae guitarist/bassist Dennis Bovell and the On-U Soundsystem had both promise and equally high expectations.

Similar to the Perry/Ari Up release Hello, Hello Hell is Very Low from last year, a collective of producers take an iconic song, deconstruct it and build it back up with both Jamaican dub and dustup techniques. But, where Hello was an interesting experiment that was able to convey the integral soul of Perry's "Underground", on this take of "Ironman" the spine-shaking essence of the original is washed away by blippity blips and a bass that is almost too low to be audible.

To Perry's credit, he seems more engaged than he did on "Hello" and begins to riff on the concept of being an Ironman. But, before he can get on one of his iconic rants that leaps between the divine and the ridiculous, he gets cut off by more beeps and distortion, limiting his participation to little more than calling out the refrain.

Sherwood was responsible for one of Perry's biggest comebacks in the '80s, and it seems he might be trying to do the same here, especially considering the fantastic Perry/Sherwood collab The Mighty Upsetter released in 2009. Unfortunately, what could have been a daring and groundbreaking take on a classic from another genre (which is exactly one of the ways Perry made a name for himself when he first began producing), we get a curio that, while interesting, doesn't allow any of the participants to truly extend their grasp.