With everything going on in the world, come escape with us as I run down three of the latest releases from Fierce Panda records, the London-based independent record label, who usually bring something fresh from their artists! Let’s begin…
Moon Panda – Slow Drive https://orcd.co/moonpanda_slowdrive
What’s initially striking about Moon Panda is the sheer quality of Maddy Myers voice – It’s good, honest tuneful vocalisation, unsullied by X-Factor ambitions, with simple phrasing and the ability to hold notes strongly then whisper gently a second later. It has an ambient purity to it that sits with the slinky, hypnotic mood on Slow Drive perfectly.
The music is sparse, with a deceptively punchy tempo. Each melody line is uncomplicated. It’s almost as if the entire song is being played on one instrument, with thick, soft-focus production that ties everything together. There are many great elements to this piece, however the daydreamy guitar line has to be a highlight – like a calming credits roll after an emotionally challenging movie.
Dynamically, Moon Panda are able to use small changes to big effect. The breakdown halfway through Slow Drive gives it much more mileage, a testament to a song that has virtually no new musical elements after 30 seconds on the clock. Slow Drive scatters out for miles, like a sunbeam filtering through the ocean. It doesn’t outstay its welcome, and is a thoroughly delightful way to soundtrack four and a half minutes gazing out the window.
MOON PANDA ‘SLOW DRIVE’ SINGLE | DIGITAL
MOON PANDA ‘MAKE WELL’ EP | PRE-SAVE/ADD
MEMES – Cheer Up
As Cheer Up sits on a base of two-chord drum machine punk, with shouty vocals, it’s tempting to draw comparisons to Sleaford Mods when talking about MEMES. However, there’s more pathos and less misanthropy here – More Thurston Moore than Jason Williamson. Cheer Up is a fun, chirpy tune, with musical flourishes deep in the mix to hold your attention throughout.
Cheer Up can’t decide whether its happy or sad, which captures the ambivalence and stalled ennui of global lockdown succinctly. That’s the great strength of this song. The name-checking of world leaders at the end is a good laugh, and will raise a smile from any live crowd when (or if?) we’re ever allowed out again.
Structurally, it is lacking. Cheer Up never reaches the peak it threatens in the verses, and all that bright, early energy dissipates quickly. In the end, this is a flat composition, driven by its lyrical content more than anything else.
MEMES ‘CHEER UP’ | DIGITAL
Albert Gold – Satellite
Albert Gold is a keen practitioner of soulful pop. On Satellite, he is able to convey a compendium of emotions in a genuine, heartfelt way. His realness shines through, making his words easy to digest, as Gold’s roller coaster rides on. That’s the mark of a great songwriter. Satellite is effervescent, hopeful and sad all at once, a fitting showcase for Gold’s versatility.
It’s a well-written song that has been unfortunately produced to death. Organic melodies have been scrubbed from the surface, Gold’s voice is not prominent in places above the background hum, and altogether there’s just a little too many ideas being thrown into the pot at once to make it truly resonate musically. You can hear instruments fighting to be heard over one another in the chaos.
That doesn’t stifle Satellite‘s groove, though. The chorus beat in particular has a syncopation that allows the keys and guitar to stab on different beats, making for a complex and enjoyable sound. The final chorus is where Gold really lets loose, and gives us some big vocal soloing, allowing us a glimpse at the potential of his talent. He is already carving out a niche sound for himself.
ALBERT GOLD ‘SATELLITE’ | DIGITAL