I was sent a promo MP3 of Pat D and Lady Paradox's track "Train Of Thought" by Leeds Hip-Hop Scene a few weeks back and was sufficiently impressed by the quality of the production (by Pat D) and rhymes (by Lady P) that I asked the boys to pass on my compliments to the creators and soon enough I was being asked to take a look over the whole album.
The virtues of that first track – warm, soulful sample-based production and quirky, interesting lyrics – are carried over into the other tunes here. Without diminishing the quality of Paradox's lyrics, it has to be said that simply having the guts to come forward as a female MC and even a moderate degree of ability is enough to make her stand out from the crowd. However, she does spit pretty well and talks in what seems to be an honest and personal manner. Pat D's way with the studio set-up is equally slick and assured.
There are however some definite faults here. This is a conservative piece of work, heavily influenced on the production side by the Pete Rock school of jazzy noodling (think INI's "Center Of Attention" rather than Pete's more dynamic and widely recognised work with CL Smooth) and Paradox is far too often at risk of falling into standard UK flows and patterns of delivery. There are any number of albums on the market, produced between the early Nineties and now, which aim at the same sound and achieve it. You could happily burn a spliff to this and drift away if that's your thing, but taken straight the album drags by due to a lack of variety and the simple fact that we've heard it all before.
I know I have mentioned more than once my disatisfaction with the whole "back to the Nineties" movement (cf: Spida Lee) and I don't want to make these two a particular target, but it seems a shame that artists with what I think is probably a lot of raw talent have settled for making an album so bereft of novelty and which ultimately fails to transmit their individual personalities as strongly as I would have liked. As a light-hearted three- or four-track EP knocked out as a tribute to past greats, "Kind Of Peace" would have worked fine and might have formed a constituent part of a more varied album. As it is, it seems like a lot of energy and passion has been expended for very little forward motion.