Oct 19, 2007

Cruel Guards-The Panics

"Cruel Guards" is the third album from The Panics and it is most assuredly a triumph. Mature, sprawling, soulful and grandiose it is definitely one of the best releases by an Australian artist in 2007. Hailing from Perth, there is a wide open feeling to their music, it feels like the perfect sort of music for a road trip. Just wind the window down and the let the glorious melodies wash over you. This album certainly begins with a statement, the majestic "Get Us Home" starts with a startling drum roll and sweeping strings before settling into a lush and beautiful song. Thankfully the next five songs keep up the quality. "Ruins" and "Creak"are bright and pleasurable. All jangling guitars and swooning organs, backing up the rasping vocals of Jae Laffer. By the time you arrive at the heavily played single "Don't Fight It" (a grand song itself) you will be feeling content and agreeable. For this is music full of heart and soul with a certain element of earthiness thrown in for good music. And although these songs soar, lyrically there is an air of melancholy. Themes run through out the music of lost and finished relationships, regret and broken history. Decay and dissolution. I believe this combination gives the music a certain gravitas that will certainly give the songs a long shelf life. Perhaps one criticism is that after a stellar opening run of six songs, the concluding 4 songs, whilst good are not of the same quality. Still, the album is certainly a pleasure to be enjoyed. It actually reminded me, in tone and texture of the classic Australian music of The Church and The Triffids. This can not be a bad thing, can it?

Cruel Guards is now out on Dew Process and you can listen to the album here.

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