Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Panacea - 12 Step Program: Review

Released: May 4th Independently.

Purchase: Online

So the new Panacea album is here. The fifth in the series, up until now they've had a near perfect discography, can they do it again? Producer K-Murdock sent me the advance last week so I took my time over this one. I decided to break the review down into two parts, themes and sounds. So here it is:


This album is a celebration of life. An exploration into the soul of mankind. Each track represents a step, a new adventure with a lesson to be learnt. In many ways, the songs on show represent the values of the emcee Raw Poetic who expresses himself through philosophical poetry over beats.

To really get a sense of Panacea (meaning the cure for everything), you must pay attention to the lyrics of each track. In my interview with K-Murdock last month he told us that Panacea always try to create stories through songs. To let these tracks sail over your head lyrically would be to miss out on the stories.

Everybody will take what they want from the records. My own feeling is that the LP teaches us that life is short and finding your true identity by letting go of worldly influences is key to achieving your hopes and dreams. It might sound a bit pretentious, but if you approach it with an open mind you will hear the purity in the music.


4. Sync-in City - A song with a double meaning. It questions the reliance some people have on their towns, proclaiming identity should be found outside of maps. It's also a humorous reference to the fact Washington was built on a swamp and every year it sinks just a little.

5. Blue Oceanwave - The theme of this song is removing your soul of all harmful influences. We go on an adventure to the ocean were our character baths away all of his demons after owning up to his faults and failings.

11. Immortal - It seems to be the mind set which our character recovering from past troubles eventually reaches. It's a state of being which allows the soul to live on through eternal influence and memories.

I find it amusing that Raw P says he has no time for religion, when he may have just created one :)


Sonically, K-Murdock is way ahead of the game here. There is a tremendous cohesion to each track which makes the album fantastically replayable. In an age of short attention spans and mixtapes this LP demands you play it all the way through.

"The Long Pull" is the curtain raiser for what your about to hear. Murdock combines soft snare drums with relaxing chords of the piano. The raw hip hop element comes back in with a sample of Rakim's "Been A Long Time". Whilst track two is the head nodding "Collard-Fried Grey Sky", this song has a party element to it and is a candidate for hip hop song of the year.

Murdock makes full use of the equipment available to him in "Stumble Home". He employs a range of obscure electronic noises to make the song work. Each contrasting sound achieves an awesome balance, which is testament to Murdock's skills as a producer.

"Sync-in City" is another classic, the ambient intro sets the tone for the laid back feel of the music. Whilst track five "Blue Oceanwave" is full of waves crashing and crazy sound effects alongside a funky bass line. Murdock admits to using more synth's on this album than any other which is evident on the tracks that follow.

The album climaxes with real celebratory tones on "Revolution World Crazy" which some people have compared to G-Funk. But it's track eleven "Immortal" that steals the show, the first time I heard this I taught of it as a possible lead single, apart from it being insanely catchy it manages to encompass all of that unique Panacea sound.

No wonder this album was released on Raw P's birthday, the whole thing feels like a celebration of triumphant hip hop music. If you close your eyes you can almost hear the fireworks. The last song is "Incubator Purgatory", a mellowed out conclusion to a bombardment of colour.

HH4TP Official Rating:

* * * * *

I have to give this five stars, a lot of us bloggers find it hard not turning our posts into Panacea tribute pages. Along with Blu & Exile, Panacea can do no wrong right now and it'll take a great effort to beat this for album of the year. Nas & Damien, it's over to you.....

1 comment:

  1. I will definitely have to pick this up. Been looking into them since you interviewed K-Murdock. Must say, I like what I've heard.