Since the dub renaissance commenced around the turn of the century, the Original Upsetter, Lee “Scratch" Perry, has acquired an entirely new audience. Repentance is Perry’s 54th studio album, and he has embraced his new following fully. It’s not just everyday folks: In 2006 Perry met Andrew W.K. at SXSW and asked him to co-produce Repentance — further embracing a generation of followers to his subliminal sounds.
Repentance starts off with a bit of unease. If you aren’t familiar with Perry’s back catalog, you may want to acquaint yourself with it before jumping into the new record. When roaming through the album’s controversial single, “Pum Pum,” Perry’s oddball, mystical understanding of the world start flying: “Pussy may come/ Pussy may go/ But Jesus Christ remain,” Perry chants. “Fresh pum pum/ Young pum pum/ Gimme more.” Putting Jesus Christ and "pum pum" in the same sentence may not seem logical, but when we’re talking about the original madman (only to be rivaled by Sun Ra), you can’t question what he’s saying. It’s best to listen to his ideals musically.
Andrew W.K. obviously had an influence on the modern sound, but Perry laid his stamp on everything. Creating minimalist beats into sonic landscapes is what has made up his forty-plus-year career, and he does it just as magnificently on Repentance. The album features Moby, guitarist Chris Stein of Blondie and drummer Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt — all of whom contribute to a sound that fits comfortably in the current musical climate. But it takes more than a pair of Venetian blind sunglasses and a V-neck to understand this is Perry’s livelihood, and he takes it extremely seriously.
Repentance can be taken as prime party music, but if you dig deeper, it’s much more rewarding. Nothing is more satisfying than listening to Lee Perry spread his insight on sounds and sex.