Thursday, 16 February 2012
Review: The Electric Panda
The Electric Panda - S/T (Independent)
The Electric Panda are a noisy four-piece from Fort Wayne, Indiana. They originally got together in 2009 as a quintet, but soon lost their keyboard player, who left to pursue other options. That setback, rather that splitting the band, reenergized them, and they wrote a whole batch of new songs, settled on a guitar led sound, and headed into the studio. The resulting recordings became their self-titled debut, and were released at the tail end of 2011.
It’s a good job they stuck with it. Their post-hardcore / post-punk style is hard-hitting and very exciting, and best of all, eminently accessible. I’m sure they’ve a long inventory of influences tucked away somewhere on a MySpace page, or something similar, but after just a few spins of the disc, you’ll start making your own list of musical stimulus, from the early releases of Talking Heads, the pacing of “Group Sex” period Circle Jerks and the agitated eclecticism of Minutemen.
That’s quite a combination, but not one that’s got universal appeal. However, if you are a fan of classic American alternative music, there are quite a few tracks here that you should make a point of hearing. “Mr. Nasty” finds drummer Andy Sheets in a particularly fierce mood, the guitar is wiry and precise, and singer John Kaszowski knows how to tell a tale. “Get it Right Tonight” rolls along like drunk fat man in a hall of mirrors, it gets pretty ugly at times, but you don’t want to miss a thing. Guitarist Fred Berkley propels the track, slashing and burning at will. “Low Down High” moves in just the same way, but adds a fine vocal hook to the mix.