Hot Panda - Bad Pop

10 songs
38:54 minutes
***** ***


Bad Pop is already the fourth album of Canadian band Hot Panda, with whom I was not familiar until now. This is actually quite a shame as I must have missed out on quite something. Hot Panda play something like noise rock, but also like to add influences of punk, emo and psychedelia into their music. The main thing is that it all sounds unbridled and distorted.

The new record is apparently even wilder than their previous efforts, as the band decided this time to reproduce the sound they usually have in a live setting. Vocalist and guitarist Chris Connelly sees himself as a hybrid between Kurt Cobain and Weird Al Yankovic, Catherine Hitz is mistreating her bass guitar and also plays the trumpet, while drummer Aaron Klassen is quoting John Bonham and Dave Grohl as his major influences.

The opener Other Spooky Is sees distorted instruments clashing with catchy vocals. Even if this mix feels like a paradox in theory, the final result is more than listenable. The title track is more pop oriented and sounds like a less civilised Blondie. Linda Ronstadt shows the band from its quieter and dreamy side, coming across like an emotional track of Dinosaur Jr. The album also contains some more traditional indie rock track that sound as if they had been recorded in the Nineties. The melodic component is never neglected, as can be heard on Same House and Golden Arch, two tracks that really are fun to listen to. Towards the end of the album, there are a few quieter pieces. When I Was Cruel sounds like the Smashing Pumpkins on a noisy day, and On Your Own offer finest dream pop ŗ la Mercury Rev.

Most tracks on Bad Pop donít make it over three minutes. Only the opener and the concluding track make it over six minutes. While the opener is suffering a little from its generous length, the band is acting more smartly on Sun where the more classic first half is followed by an experimental part that also adds elements of post rock and avantgarde.

Bad Pop is not your typical punk or indie rock album. The three Canadians rarely to things the way you might expect, but instead try hard to sound different from other genre bands. If you are open for a band that is unafraid of experiments, you might be at the right address with Hot Panda, although you should be aware that their music is demanding and ultimately very rewarding.

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