|PANACHE CULTURE :
1 - I Don't Like Reggae, I Love It (featuring Macka B), 2 - Tell Them, 3 - Over There, 4 - Lei Lila, 5 - Together, Yes !, 6 - Bif Baf Boof (Mr. Chatterbox), 7 - Rise And Live, 8 - Land Of Ancient Kings, 9 - Give A Little Something (featuring Super Ranking), 10 - Dub
|Review by Steve Heilig, published in The Beat :
From out of the unlikely reggae stronghold Belgium comes a very strong debut album from Panache Culture, who with help from a few friends in high places whip up a classic-sounding upful mix of various roots reggae styles.
The core of Panache Culture is four young Morrocan brothers named Hamra. The surnames of the four other members - Pastecchia, Gueye, Bazimas and Kalala, hailing from Italy, Senegal, Greece and Zaire, respectively - indicate the international scope of the band. Throw in veteran roots trombonist Rico Rodriguez, Aswad hornsman Michael "Bammie" Rose, Ariwa Posse musicians and Macka B, with the Mad Professor himself stirring it all together, and what you have is a very tasty stew. Eight of the 10 cuts are originals, but "Tell Them!" kicks off with a clever remake of '70s English popband 10CC's humurous spoof/tribute, "I Don't Like Reggae, I Love It". Here Macka B is in fine form, detailing the positive aspects of his chosen musical genre. The band also covers the early Marley tune, "Mr. Chatterbox", here retitled "Bif, Baf, Boof", which itself makes for a cool, catchy chorus.
There's a fair amount of variety in the original songs, from the standard but strong reggae of the title cut, "Over There" and "Rise And Live", to the uptempo instrumental skank of "Together, Yes" or the rai-reggae (at least that's what it sounds like to me) of "Lei Lila", sung in Arabic. A dj named Super Ranking works out well on "Give A Little Something", and the disc concludes with a 13-minute dub medley of all that has gone before, but in reverse.
There's nothing really startling here, and the Mad Professor wisely reigns in some of his wilder proclivities. The lyrical convictions expressed are solid roots and culture, but extol a generic God in place of Jah. It all fits. "Tell Them" is an extremely enjoyable and heartening dose of mostly straight-forward, expertly played and produced reggae.