Monday, January 30, 2012

Killer Dreams - Pangea - EP Album Review

2011's Living Dummy with it's inebriated surf beats and manic expressions of skinny punk bravado felt both old and new, fresh and rotten, and, frankly, kind of mind blowing. Awash in dirty distortion, it rocked hard and sounded more dangerous (in a prank gone wrong kind of way) and subversive than what their brethren Fidlar and the Black Lips put out. Living Dummy was a luscious piece of post punk pie and "No Feelin" stands as one of my favorite songs of 2011.

The 4 songs on display on their follow up, Killer Dreams are all different in tone and texture and while Pangea still pulsates with the same musical genetic matter as bands like the Dead Milkmen, Violent Femmes and the Dead Kennedys, these songs feel like an evolution of sorts. "Plasma (out of your mind)" is fully charged Pangea punk and William Keegan's vocals have never sounded more potent. "Love and Alcohol" is a straight up porch country song with wonderfully stark and tender lyrics, "all the bad things about you... all the troubles in your life... all the dead rats in your bathroom... and all the skeletons you hide... I still believe... I still believe.... you're all I ever need". Keegan's emotional attack on every line is drenched in punk pathos, underscored by bottom end barely there harmonies. I love this song. "River" is pogo perfect and moves at an intense clip. It lifts you up. It has a pure rock heart. It feels timeless. It could be a Gene Vincent (and the Blue Caps), Springsteen or Arcade Fire song. "Killer Dreams" has an apt psychedelic night mare feel, part Ty Segal meets Tim Burton meets Oingo Boingo ... "you and me.... killer dreams... lazy teens... goblins and gouls". The musical break near the end absolutely jams and reminds you what good musicians Pangea are.

In Killer Dreams, Pangea has turned another corner showing another side to themselves. It is also a nicely produced record with a well balanced sound and the decision to strip back the over modulated full frontal mix (evident on Living Dummy) was a good one as it makes every musical and vocal chop feel tighter and more intense.

If Living Dummy with it's distortion wash and comedic undertones is one long drinking binge, Killer Dreams may be the day after- steeped in some bitterness, anger, torn love, reflection and nightmares.


Killer Dreams by Pangea (William, Danny, Erik and Thomas)
Mastered by Dave Eck at Lucky Lacquers, Wi.
Recorded and Mixed by Andrew Schubert at Mix LA in Late July and August 2011
Assisted by Jenae "Justice" Diaz
GhostBot Records
Lauren Records

John Crowell Review of Living Dummy:  Tiny Mix Tapes

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