Album Review – Came Down Different by Pardoner (2021) (Bar None Records)

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Sometimes I have to remind myself, just what a double hard bar-steward I am. Not for me, the constant beautiful melodies of The Railway Children / The Byrds type bands. No, no way, for I am toughness personified and that’s way too pretty for this ‘essence of man’.
Now for those who actually know me, will know, that in reality, I struggle to fight a mild head cold. However, there are times when I just need to break free from the interminable sense of fluffy that the janglepop genre sometimes provides and just get a bit of ‘snarl’ on.
For those moments, San Francisco foursome, Pardoner, look set to revel in a role as the snarliest (Is that a word even?) of the current crop of jangle rockers and perhaps even usurp an act like Eddy Current Suppression Ring as the new kings?
At their most intensely manic, thin wisps of melody fight their way through, tracks such as Spike, Hammer Factory and Totally Evil Powers, to just about get heard above the Goo era Sonic Youth fuzz and distortion, to have us comparing the sound to Kiwi Jr at their most aggressive. It’s a mental energy that stops short of being disturbing and settles for simply enthralling.
However, the best of the album is heard when the aggression is tempered slightly, enabling different variants of melodies to take more emphasis. The title track and Bunny’s Taxi take a New Order / The Cure route to jangly post-punk, whereas Donna Said, I Wanna Get High to the Music and Broadway, also end up with a slight post-punk edge, but arrive there courtesy of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever ramshackle and a Primo! set of tinny faux, jangled riffs.
Now of course of I could wibble on some more about how great this album is, but that would start seeing me drift towards the sort of fanboy that is so unbecoming for one as double hard as me. As such I order you to listen to this, otherwise I will ‘bash you up’. Be warned !!!

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