Akron’s alt-hip-hop collective Red Rose Panic has returned with an album of new material. Nearly three years in the making, “Time Attack” is a masterful concoction of jazz, R&B and rap.
At the forefront of the project is writer and emcee Luminari Eleven. As always, his verses are canny and unpredictable. They are smart and sync well with the breezy grooves that the band provides as a foundation. His writing and delivery are nearly always impeccable. They are quality and have the feel of a finely tailored suit. Though well-crafted, they drip with style and flavor.
But the lyrics and vocals are only half the equation. The airiness and “lift” created by bandmates Styxx (lead guitar), SMOKEFACE (bass), Reo Dinero (drums) and Gold Frame Quis (keys) breathes life into the in-between moments of the songs.
In a recent interview, Luminari revealed that the goal with this album was to pull the focus from a heavily digital sound and attempt to capture the live feel of the band.
“We wanted the soul of the instruments, real instruments, to actually bleed through the records,” says Luminari.
In addition to his duties on the keyboard, Gold mixed and mastered the album. He found that balance of authenticity and soul that the group was looking to present.
The lead single is “Change Your Mind.” Both effortless and sexy, in many aspects this is the quintessential Red Rose Panic song. Luminari is at his best when he is writing about the sweet spot in a relationship, sometime after the first few dates but before the first argument. When you wake each other up with morning texts or drive for hours together at night, holding hands and listening to music. He understands how to articulate what that feels like.
“PTE” (Party Time, Excellent) is another strong entry on the album. The band has been crafting and honing the song over the last couple years. Live, it is a bit of a rager and has often closed their sets. The recorded version is dialed down just a half step, but it still bangs.
“Been There” is an ebullient head-nodder. It struts. It’s the kind of song you play before you go out for the evening. Looking good and feeling sharp, nobody is going to bring you down.
In our interview, Luminari explained his thought process behind the frantic “Hulk Hogan.”
“’Hulk Hogan’ is a battle with your inner self, your inner insecurities, the thoughts about rushing to be great and how folks perceive you in the real world.”
That brought to mind the album title, “Time Attack.”
“‘Time Attack’ is about the creators and artists all over the world who are currently fighting to win back their 40 hours. For those like me who work a nine-to-five job, [and are] also a full-time dad, it’s hard to find those creative moments to just engage in your art. This is a [tribute] to those who are on the same rung, and this piece of art, the album, is a rope ladder into our dreamworld. Everyone would love to be able to live comfortably doing what they love to do, right? There’s enough success out there for everyone. Stay passionate and consistent in your art and you will successfully power through.”
Who can’t relate to that?
Red Rose Panic is an act just waiting to erupt into the mainstream. Luminari is a quintessential frontman who is working in tandem with a group of supremely talented musicians. “Time Attack” is a choice offering of what this band does best. They collage familiar sounds with modern lyrics and delivery to generate something entirely new. The album is honest and ambitious. And most important, it has some terrific songs on it. Designed to please pop enthusiasts as well as fans of unerring musicianship, “Time Attack” will surely be one of the stronger musical offerings coming out of Akron this year.