Album Review: Prince Fatty - Hollie Cook In Dub

12 June 2012 | 4:27 pm | Bob Baker Fish

What Cook’s original album sounds like is irrelevant. This is a whole new hypnotic beast.

There's no denying the all-pervading presence of Jamaican dub music. The sounds are more than 40 years old, made quickly on limited equipment by sonic adventurers such as King Tubby and Prince Jammy, yet still sound fresher, more imaginative and more adventurous than most music made today. The most recent royal to step up is Prince Fatty, a man who sounds like he hails from the golden age, yet in reality is Mike Pelanconi, a British sound engineer. He's worked with everyone from members of Blur to A Tribe Called Quest, though perhaps more relevant to this album is his work with Gregory Isaacs, Little Roy or even Adrian Sherwood. The nom de plume is clearly a cheeky nod towards King Tubby, perhaps an acknowledgement of the great man's influence, as this album sounds suspiciously analogue, suspiciously Tubbyesque.

Hollie Cook was a member of the reformed British punk band The Slits and is daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook. Her debut solo album was considered “tropical pop” by her label and engineered, of course, by Fatty. So it makes sense that they'd call him in to dub it up. He takes us straight back to the golden years, dramatically reducing the vocals and washing out his versions with layers of delay, heavy reverb and analogue-sounding organs.  The techniques are old school, yet he's also willing to increase the tempo at times. There's a super-slick ska version of The Andrews Sisters, a disco tune turned dub (originally from The Whispers), and the Shangri Las' (Remember) Walking In The Sand.

What Cook's original album sounds like is irrelevant. This is a whole new hypnotic beast. It's for those who mourn Tubby and wonder what he would've made of today's sounds with today's artists. Gold.