Panther 14 kt God

Panther began life in 2001 as essentially the idiosyncratic output of one Charles Salas-Humara, who rapped, sung and writhed his way through electro, funk and disco beats on Panther’s 2007 debut, Secret Lawns. This time around, he’s moved up in the world, signing to Kill Rock Stars and recruiting a drummer to join in the hijinks. With 14 kt God, Salas-Humara and drummer Joe Kelly have considerably expanded Panther’s scope. Here, they play with dub, improvisation, stringed instruments and African rhythms, and end up sounding like what Old Time Relijun would if they were sillier and sweatier. Salas-Humara’s voice is kind of thin, something you are confronted with immediately on opener "Puerto Rican Jukebox.” But any reservations about the vocals are soon allayed as Panther draw you in with their tribal sense of rhythm, buttressed sporadically by jittery yelps and cello-led hooks. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a mess, but it’s one that grows on you. (Kill Rock Stars)