Review Summary: Post-screamo done right.
I came across Pansori browsing through one of my favorite blogs to find unknown music (RibsOut.) At first glance I just expected another screamo/post-rock hybrid ala too many bands to count, but after just one listen I realized I was sorely mistaken. Pansori is a newly formed six-piece from Baltimore, Maryland formed from "...parts of bands you might know," according to their Myspace. Now which bands that is I have no clue, but I do know these six are very talented musicians. Apart from their Myspace page not much else can be found on Pansori, other than information on the Korean barrel drum and vocal music of the same name. However I believe a search of Pansori will bring up much more about music than barrels in the near future when this band takes off.
A lot of post-rock influenced screamo (or is it screamo influenced post-rock?) tend to let one side of that genre equation dominate the other. Many times a band will attempt to blend in the long sprawling soundscapes found in post-rock then abruptly throw in short spastic moments of cathartic screamo; this approach just doesn't work. The same could be said for the reverse as well-- quick bursts of intense emotional vocals and heavy hitting punk riffs crumbles into a drawn out slow melody. The problem with both of these approaches is the flow. When the music is fast it's too fast
, and when the music is slow it's too slow
. When a car is speeding at 180mph then suddenly breaks down to 20mph the change is too quick and drastic to sit well. The clashing of genres between post-rock and screamo can be looked at the same way.
Pansori blurs that line that band's have struggled to accomplish in the past. When the music is heavy, it's heavy, but not for too long. Just as the music dwells on one part for too long the band does a turnaround right back to a beautiful post-rock number. Just as that infectious melody starts wearing thin, the band rolls the dice and whips out a brutal hardcore section. The band chooses to ease their movements into each other instead of going 0-100mph and back down again. A steady post-rock progression can lead up into a fiery pillar of screams then water down to a serene bass and drum rhythm. The demo consists of one 19 minute track, 'eighthundredyearsofsilence,' which contains a handful of vastly different movements. Some parts are straight punk, while others highlight the solo violinist. Each of the movements blend seamlessly into each other, making it futile to try and dissect each part of the song. What is so incredible about the EP is it's ability to move between ideas without hesitation or break in flow. Only on repeat listens will the listener begin to pick up on the subtle changes in the music. Another remarkable trait is the production. For an atypical DIY band with five members and a violin the production is surprisingly clean and open; something not seen often in the DIY scene.
The band jokingly have "it's like U2 on weed man..." posted on their Myspace. To me, a more accurate description would be "Post-screamo done right." Pansori is truly the first band that have come close to perfecting the combination of post-rock and screamo in recently memory. With just this one demo to go by, I believe Pansori have a very bright road ahead of them.