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5. Lee “Scratch” Perry and Subatomic Sound, Super Ape Returns to Conquer

Lee 'Scratch' Perry + Subatomic Sound System - Super Ape Returns to Conquer

On their first full-length collaboration, Lee “Scratch” Perry and his long-time touring band Subatomic Sound System revisited 1976’s landmark dub album Super Ape with smashing success. The redux features completely new versions of every song on the original, re-recorded from scratch with a mix of live instrumentation and dub techniques. The motive, Subatomic’s Emch explained to us, “was to adapt a slow hypnotic album to a hype live show while still maintaining the vibes that make the music special.”

Mission accomplished. While much of Perry’s recent work has missed the mark, this inventive redux is as close as we may ever get again to the feel of Perry’s peak period in the 1970s, breathing new life into classic tracks like “Chase the Devil,” originally recorded for Perry by Max Romeo and re-mixed by Perry himself into “Disco Devil” and the dub version “Croaking Lizard.” The new version, featuring dueling vocals from Screechy Dan and Jahdan Blakkamoore, combines aspects of all three, seamlessly. Super Ape Returns is a highly listenable album that doesn’t require any special knowledge or familiarity with the original work. — Jesse Serwer