On their latest effort, the California lo-fi rock of together PANGEA sounds just as much like a mash-up of their former tour buddies as it does a fresh new record. Blending the screaming vocals and desert tones of the Black Lips, along with the distortion and speed of Wavves they craft something even more electric than the two alone. While they make a clever blend of their influences, do they make something new or just sound like more of the same?
With the youthful joy of “Sippy Cup” the album opens with a breath of fresh air, as the band shriek their hearts out. Through clanging riffs and Black Lips-esque vocals they set the free-flowing tone of the record perfectly. Going a little desert on “The Cold” they push their triumphant lyrics over the twang of the guitars. Along with some shredding licks, the whistle melodies make this song one you’ll be humming again and again.
“Kenmore Ave.” shuffles on much less open ground, as the band spreads out their sonic palette through their choruses. Mixing in a set of lyrics from “Ticket To Ride” the song also serves a second take on the classic track. Shifting to groovier rhythms, “Money On It” builds some dance riffs for its troubled lyrics. The impassioned screams that end the track take the already pained lyrics to a peak.
Ramping up the speed on “Better Find Out” they embody tones of Wavves in their surf chops, turning up the distortion as well. The catchy vocal hooks and relentless drums make for a track that has vicious party power in its bones. Shifting to brighter guitar on “Peach Mirror” they ooze even more sunny surf tones into guitars. The “Lost, lonely and high” refrain makes for a delicious line that makes the song addictive to listen to.
“Gold Moon” rustles back and forth on a dark groove as it stomps its drums out aggressively. The flickering guitars complement the warped harmonies to make a powerful combo that make the fun lyrics even more exciting to sing along to. In a dense chug of toned riffs, “Friend Of Nothing” dances with its frantic pace and loose sense of melody. The breakneck vocal delivery comes together for something that is all to overpowering as the band gives a very immediate and dire cry.
On a seemingly endless riff “Stare At the Sun” tears open, blending some of the most juicy harmonies of the record with deep bass and fast drums. The light touches of vintage synths give an even more layered sound to make a dish out of the seemingly sparing track. Returning to the cutting energy “Southern Comfort” blends more desert riffs in a killer rush of sound as the band kicks through one of their most fiery tracks of the record.
“Bulls and Roosters” goes heavy, with twinkling riffs and screaming vocals to take up the top end. The track really floods in the sounds in its second half, falling into a shady guitar section as the two complement each others’ glimmer. “Is It Real?” brings in all the catchy sounds as the band blends killer drums with some of the best guitar and synth of the record. Stripping things back for a T. Rex-like strut on “Alison” as they craft a power-ballad, fueled on reflection. The chorus hits hard on a vintage rhythm and blues-style hook, closing the album on something wholesome.
Words by Owen Maxwell