Teenagers understand ‘stuff’. They can write nineteen text messages in the time it takes me to find the ‘H’ for ‘hello’. Or, at least they could do, if they still used texts and had not moved onto whatever it is that has replaced that ‘what is up’ application these days. They also know that ‘cloud’ has two meanings, with one of them being something to do with technology and have moved onto Instagram because Facebook is so 2015.
However what the teens should not really understand is the experience of what it was like to be around the original British post-punk movement as it is developed into a definitive scene in the 1980’s. As such ‘us 40 something olds’ can revel snugly in the knowledge that post-punk is ours, it defines our youth and no other subsequent generation is really able to understand it, let alone use it as a musical influence.
Unless of course you are a band of four teenage girls fresh out of high school in Los Angeles, who plainly did not get that particular e-mail and obviously did absolutely nothing with their educational years apart from listen to the first three albums by The Cure and a whole host of mid 1980’s brooding jangle-pop bands. Armed with such a knowledge, a thirst for all things retro and an obviously vast array of talents, Los Angeles four piece The Pantones, have not only managed to produce the best and most realistic post punk sound of recent times, but have even had the absolute temerity to make enhancements to the genre’s wonderfully dense gloom.
Initially the interplay of the two bass guitarists (Angeline Doctor and Madison Alcala) sets them apart from other recent PP bands and in a tracks such as Control (see below) and the absolutely brilliant Self Denial their constant signature sound foundation of The Cure gloom and is added to by an aesthetic provided by vocalist Isabel Salinas who adds an alluring sweetness that adds a startling vibrancy such is the ‘sweet antithesis’ to the general malaise. It is just an intriguing aesthetic that totally compels.
The Pantones also enhance the post-punk malaise just by the sheer beauty of the chiming, jangling treble guitar work that hangs over the general sound like a deliberate antonym to the gloom of what post-punk has traditionally been. Whilst the mid 1980’s British Post-Punk bands t were prepared to grumble around in the darkness of low end chords never really bothering to seek any light, this band were always going to give more of a starring role to the treble guitar played by Madeline Doctor, who is basically both the musical and song writing driving force behind the band.
Naturally she makes her presence felt and in a track like the superlative For The Ones Who Love You (see below) we are granted a brilliant high end sound that conjures up images of The Cure morphing into The Housemartins or any other of the numerous mid to late 1980’s jangle-pop bands that added that unmistakable slight echo to their frequent high end chords usage.
For The Ones Who Love You
Effectively, this album just remind me that the kids always win. They prize our money from us, they have the ability to rip our hearts out of our chest with one withered look and they thrive in a new technology driven era that simply confuses the rest of us …and now they are taking the music of ‘us olds’ as well.
…And long may it continue if it sounds like The Pantones!