Paralleling other English reggae outfits like UB40 and Mad Professor's Ariwa band during the late '70s and early '80s, Adrian Sherwood's various On U Sound outfits took off from Jamaican dub and vocal music to create something both similar and unique. While primarily inspired by the dub of King Tubby and company as well as the slicker sound of dancehall luminaries like the Roots Radics band and producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes, the Dub Syndicate, for one, also incorporated rock elements and a host of original dub effects: drums sound harder and more insistent than on most Jamaican sides, the piano and horns play a more prominent role, and, in an admitted quest for ambient sounds, echo, flanger, and reverb effects are wrought with their own brand of frenetic twist and turns. This Dub Syndicate debut from 1982 captures most of the attractive mix and remains one of Sherwood's best releases. While maybe not as daring as more electronica-minded and big beat-filled releases that followed, Pounding System has stood the test of time better than many On U Sound titles with its subtle marriage of Jamaican music and Sherwood's aesthetics.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook