Review Summary: Adam Downer says: “Yeah, like I don’t have enough post rock from 2008.”
I want you to imagine something for me. Imagine powerful riffs. Imagine soaring guitars. Imagine half-decent drumming. Imagine pretty little piano melodies. Even imagine a bit of ambience. Now imagine that again. And again. And again. Congratulations! You have just imagined yourself 90% of post rock, and, as a double-whammy, you have also just imagined Riding Panico! Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it, champ.
Sarcastic introductions aside, Lady Cobra is simply yet another average post rock record to add to the 2008 collection. I’d like to go into more detail about the album, but it doesn’t really go much further than the imagination exercise. It’s solid but regurgitated post rock, plain and simple. Tracks like opener “E Se A Bela For O Monstro” and “Vox Humana” remain content to force out commanding but contrived guitar riffs and unmemorable melodies, believing that volume equals inspiration. “Naja” and “Capelo” bring up the rear with the classic ‘slow songs’, concentrating on the eerie use of ambience, gentle guitaring, and even pianos! Everything that can be heard here, you’ve heard before.
For a first attempt, I was expecting at least a little moxy from this Portuguese septuplet. But during the entire forty five minutes that Lady Cobra lasted for, I didn’t get any ‘fu
ck-me-this-is-awesome’ goosebumps, no ‘this-band-is-definitely-going-places’ epiphanies, not even a mild ‘hey-this-is-actually-alright’ corner of the mouth smile. It’s not like I was falling over the room, hurling myself at the stereo, compelled by an overpowering urge to put on something else. In fact, it wasn’t even a chore to listen to it front to back. As background music, I suppose it could serve a purpose. But the lack of any clear innovation, creativity, or originality has forced me to assign it to a dust-collecting fate.
To be fair, ‘Lady Cobra’ is not exactly a bad
record. I feel it would be harsh on the band to label it anything entirely negative. 'Volvo' shows a glimmer of hope - it's aggressive approach not feeling forced and cold but instead showing a new side; powerful and motivating. But, as newcomers to the genre, you would think they would be keen to show the instrumental world what they can do, what makes them unique, different from other bands in the genre. Challenge themselves to squeeze every ounce of their creative ability. They must know how cramped the genre is right now, and how frustrated the fans are (np: Adam Downer). But no. Whether due to a lack of effort, or simply due to a lack of imagination, Riding Panico have made no impact on planet post rock, and have only added themselves to the towering pile of bands that just couldn’t cut it instrumental.