Spoiler: the mash of lo-fi flirtations with the pounding fun drums that sound like they are fuelled by the clack of skateboard wheels
Having hinted at the sun-baked sounds of their last release, the Inner City Oasis EP, Pandas in Japan have returned, sounding somehow more bizarre-yet-succinct on their new album Weird Art.
But it’s not that weird, really. Well, it is. But it’s also very, very good.
Featuring a swirling cacophony of 80-grit sandpaper noise amidst the deft sludge feast interplay of guitar ‘n’ bass, the Pandas mash their lo-fi flirtations with the pounding fun drums that sound like they are fuelled by the clack of skateboard wheels and the filthy grit of basement home brew.
On the other hand, it’s kind of weird in the best way possible. Imagine the mid-’80s post hardcore snub-fest of later-era SST bands like firehose, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth mingling amidst pinkie drinks and pranks with the beach-core dude-slack of Wavves or something similarly breezy and accidentally hummable. Weird Art is an adventure into jagged grating punk-psych blasts and friendship-redemption harmonies.
Pandas in Japan first started recording the album back in March of 2013, with Keegan Rohovich at the old RAIS studio back when it was located at the River Landing. That was followed by a live EP a few month later, and the group just kept going, says guitarist Jonathan Walker.
“The final half of the album was recorded just this March at Workhorse Productions by Troy Denet, which is located where the old RAIS studio was,” says Walker. “So we finished where we began sort of.”
Despite taking time off last year, Walker says the trio have been playing with more focus and precision than ever before.
“We’ve been through the party phase, we’ve been up and we’ve been down,” he says. “This album is sort of a look back at who we were as well as what we can become.
“Right now we’re focused on the future, and will continue to use the ever changing world around us as inspiration,” continues Walker.
Catch Pandas in Japan live at their album release show at Amigos on May 23. The group are also playing a show May 29 at the Cosmo Centre for the movie Instruments of Destruction along with upcoming appearances in Edmonton and Winnipeg.
Don’t be a dummy – buy the album.