13 Songs, 1 Hour 10 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Backed by the White Belly Rats, a razor sharp Swiss band that adds fire to these dense compositions and relentless grooves, Lee Perry sings on every track on Panic in Babylon, and as usual, he has a lot on his mind. To call the lyrics eccentric is an understatement (what exactly does “go to the supermarket/and don’t skylark it” mean, anyway?), but they’re endlessly interesting and often hilarious. Many deal with expelling or confronting demons and evil spirits, a theme that culminates with the standout “Fight to the Finish,” a musical exorcism filled with nonstop aural surprises and an incessant chant of “get in the arena!” Elsewhere he name checks George W. Bush, Marcus Garvey, and the Pope, refers to himself as a psychiatrist, The Cocky Man, and Dr. Tree, and boasts “Eminent, I’m the firmament/Eminent, I’m permanent.” A dizzying variety of sounds emerge from these 16 tracks, three of which are bonus re-mixes, one by Dave Sitek of TV On the Radio and two by DJ Spooky. Notably, Perry did not produce the album, despite being one of music’s premiere studio wizards; those duties were left to DJ Startrek and Pascal Brunkow of the White Belly Rats (it could be imagined, however, that Perry still had a major influence on the album’s overall sound). There’s a ton of Perry material available, but this is one of the more satisfying and consistent releases of recent years.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Backed by the White Belly Rats, a razor sharp Swiss band that adds fire to these dense compositions and relentless grooves, Lee Perry sings on every track on Panic in Babylon, and as usual, he has a lot on his mind. To call the lyrics eccentric is an understatement (what exactly does “go to the supermarket/and don’t skylark it” mean, anyway?), but they’re endlessly interesting and often hilarious. Many deal with expelling or confronting demons and evil spirits, a theme that culminates with the standout “Fight to the Finish,” a musical exorcism filled with nonstop aural surprises and an incessant chant of “get in the arena!” Elsewhere he name checks George W. Bush, Marcus Garvey, and the Pope, refers to himself as a psychiatrist, The Cocky Man, and Dr. Tree, and boasts “Eminent, I’m the firmament/Eminent, I’m permanent.” A dizzying variety of sounds emerge from these 16 tracks, three of which are bonus re-mixes, one by Dave Sitek of TV On the Radio and two by DJ Spooky. Notably, Perry did not produce the album, despite being one of music’s premiere studio wizards; those duties were left to DJ Startrek and Pascal Brunkow of the White Belly Rats (it could be imagined, however, that Perry still had a major influence on the album’s overall sound). There’s a ton of Perry material available, but this is one of the more satisfying and consistent releases of recent years.

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