Album: Thinking Back, Looking Forward EP
Label: Glow In The Dark Records
Rating: 8 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Panacea, a DC based duo comprising of rapper Raw Poetic and producer K-Murdock, promise on their “Thinking Back, Looking Forward” EP, to have crafted a sound that is a unique mixture of conversational storytelling rhymes and soulful compositions. Signing to Glow In The Dark records, home of those likeable Time Machine lads, is a good move, as this label seems to both give the artists freedom to produce their own music, AND work hard to promote it once its done.
The uptempo ‘Birdfeather’ kicks things off, and instantly produces fits of head-nodding, not just from K-Murdock’s impressive beat but also due to the way Poetic rides the track. Supremely confident, he spits clearly and crisply, like some kind of Pete Rock AND CL Smooth / Count Bass D hybrid, to produce an uplifting track, that gives a nice first glimpse of Panacea, and still hints that they’ve left something more in the locker for the rest of the EP.
That something is ‘Colorful Storms’. This time its K-Murdock’s turn to invoke Pete Rock – this time on the beats, as sparkling synths dance behind a dusty drum track. Raw Poetic again doesn’t disappoint, describing the processes involved in writing his rhymes and wrapping them up in vivid descriptions, which transform the mere acts of putting pen to paper into some kind of magical ritual. By the time we reach the largely instrumental ‘Freedom Theory’ its clear that this is a talented duo. Here Poetic lazily drops a couple of short verse while sounding eerily like the Count, as K concocts a backtrack of jazzy percussion, golden strings, and warm piano chords, which eventually dominate the track.
‘The Great Escape’ is vintage boom-bap. Concrete-hard snares, a ton of ba-bump, and a gorgeous guitar bassline already make it very easy to listen to, but the hook is a big winner, pushes an already-strong track into the stratosphere. Raw Poetic’s introspective lyrics are perfectly matched to the track and make this the best track on the EP by far.
Rounding things off comes ‘Limitless Pages’, where Poetic evaluates his life and the paths he’s took, and how the different situations and struggles he has faced and overcome have influenced not just his rhymes, but each further decision he’s taken in his growth.
“I got pride that’s always keeping me from turning back,
Mistakes that I create will keep me looking back,
What’s right within my life? I’m left without no facts,
I write my life through wax with every written track”
The fact that he’s doing this over another superb K-Murdock track, this time built around an understated piano scale and a simple drum loop which support Poetic as he flows, makes this another winner.
With these 5 tracks, and the 5 instrumentals on the flip, you’re bound to get your money’s worth here. Panacea are definitely a name to look out for in the near future, and if this is setting the standard that will be found on their upcoming longplayer “Ink Is My Drink” then we’re in for a treat on that one too. You should definitely pick this up.