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Album Review: El-P - Cancer For Cure

25 May 2012 | 2:19 pm | James d'Apice

"Few albums are as complete as this and almost none are as immersive."

You can't believe everything you read about El-P. That's because it will probably have been written by one of a generation of music reviewers who grew up listening to and loving El-P and his doomed crew Company Flow. It means that any review, any commentary, will probably be coloured by this experience. It means that if there is ever a judgement call to be made about El-P's music you'll have to make it yourself rather than trusting the words in front of you. Take it with a grain of salt, then, when I tell you that Cancer For Cure is incredible; comfortably one of the albums of this year to date.

The clumsily-named The Full Retard is a highlight. Rabid fans – and music journalists – may see it as an echo of El-P's 2002 epic, Delorean. Ten years ago El-P was “taking it back in time to when motherfuckers could rock”. Today we are implored to “bump this shit like they do in the future”. But even for casual listeners there's still a profound appeal to this track. The beat is monstrous and, garbage subject matter aside, the raps are compelling. Request Denied, the album opener, is the soundtrack to the apocalypse. Oh Hail No is a straight-up banger. $ VicFTL (Me and You) is a compelling, hypnotic journey to the other side.

Importantly, El-P has done what he did in 2002 with Fantastic Damage, and what he did again in 2007 with I'll Sleep When You're Dead: he has told us not what the future will sound like, but what the future should sound like. Few albums are as complete as this and almost none are as immersive. Check this. We'll make an El-P fan of you yet.