April 06, 2003

Panda "Twenty String EP"

Soft, soothing, smooth, mellow indie-rock that is folky without really being folk; acoustic music with a full band, and plain-old pretty. Panda are a five-piece from Denton, Texas, and they've done quite a breathtaking little number on Twenty String, their debut recording. Instead of settling for one sound or another, they've created six pretty and delicate songs that rely on strings, bells, and a soft, soothing singer. Twenty String is a beautiful record from a young band worth checking out.

You would probably be best advised to avoid driving heavy machinery while listening to Twenty String. Every time I listened to this little record, I found myself drifting off into a deep, pleasant sleep. You can't really help it; their melodies chime like a lullaby for the indie rock set, and though they're not at all slow-core, they aren't really hurried, either. I think the word I'm looking for here is atmospheric. I do wonder, though, that since these songs have lulled me and my cat into sleep, if maybe this would be a good gift for my baby nephew?

Panda make perfect music for those who like blissed-out pop, sad-style folk, and just downright beautiful music. They happily slip through your fingers and into your heart. They don't sit still with one particular musical style, opting to embellish the best parts of--and never defining themselves as--country, folk, and, yes, a little new age music. (Tell me "As Soon As We Find our Way Through the City We Get Lost" isn't earthy and blissy and new-ageish, and I'll call you a liar.) It doesn't matter, though; if you can write a song as pretty and touching as "New Moon" and "Too Much Thought," who cares what you call your music?

--Joseph Kyle

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