Album Review – Extra Cosmic by Panda Riot (2022) (Self released)
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Chicago foursome, Panda Riot, appear to be something of a poster child for such an old adage, releasing four albums over a period of 15 years.
Extra Cosmic certainly justifies the anticipation of the latest five year hiatus. Instantly, the opening title track settles any nerves that they may have somehow diminished the ethereal beauty that always seems so effortless and innate for them.
Along with Future Shock and CMYK, the title track offers lustrous, slightly metallic riffs, that are allowed to glisten within deep shoegaze machinations that are so finely coiffured that they never threaten to dominated the beautiful faux melodies or Rebecca Scott’s made for dream-pop, ethereal vocals.
Scott’s vocals are even more resplendent in Technicolor, Remote Viewing and Magic Only. Here the gaze inflections take a back seat and are replaced by a jangly dream-pop essence that is reminiscent of the Holy Now aesthetic, as Scott’s languid beauty guides the tracks to all manner of sumptuous.
However, in my humble (but always correct opinion …for non-British people, please note I am joking!) Panda Riot are best when they ‘let go’, which generally means it is fuzz rock time.
From this perspective the album never disappoints, with E.S.P, 1000% and Glitterati sniping away within the crevices of buzzsaw, fuzz and melodic intent, in a manner that no modern act has really bettered. It’s The Jesus and Mary Chain with extra pretty and is deserving of every accolade that should be bestowed upon it.
It could be another 4/5/6 years before they release again…I’ll wait !