Review: Panda Riot – Northern Automatic Music

Now based in Chicago, Rebecca Scott and Brian Cook worked together on soundtracks when they first met but then they discovered that writing songs was their true calling. Yet that background in film does pay dividends because the duo, with the addition of Jose Rodriguez’s relentless drumming, have created an atmospheric, lovingly produced album.

Panda Riot Album Cover

‘Amanda In The Clouds’ presents a brilliant, colourful start; beginning with Scott’s layered vocals and dreamily melodic guitars. It’s no fluke either. If anyone wanted to know what a shoegaze sea shanty sounded like, ‘In The Forest’ provides the answer. The title track experiments with piano keys and glitchy beats whilst ‘MTWM Glass’ is as lush as, well, Lush, arguably their nearest sound-alikes. Their film score roots are rediscovered for three rather gorgeous and very different instrumental tracks and it’s left to the exquisite, gentle ‘Camden Line’ to wrap up a great record.

Die-hards may argue that some of the guitar sounds are a little too indebted to My Bloody Valentine (especially for ‘Black Pyramids’ and the admittedly thrilling ‘Good Night, Rich Kids’) but there’s no doubt Panda Riot are a more immediate proposition; easier on the ear than those noisy, dreampop behemoths. In short, if you like shoegaze in its most tuneful form, you will love this.

Web Sites:
Panda Riot Official Site
Saint Marie Records Label and Shop Site
Youtube Video for ‘Black Pyramids’

Further Listening:
Lush, Thrushes, Spotlight Kid, My Bloody Valentine

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