Review Summary: I think it's time for you to choose
Electronic rock outfit Pinn Panelle surpass many of their peers in a number of areas, most of all coming up with song structures that don’t just descend into Modestep-esque monotony. After their self-titled debut in 2012, the band began to expand their commercial appeal by covering Skrillex, a move that gained them a whole bunch of new fans. For their new EP, their proggy tinge of their self-titled debut is totally gone, replaced instead by Muse-esque crooning and electronics highly reminiscent of Korn’s The Path Of Totality
, only incorporated into the band’s stadium rock sound far better.
It’s quite the mixed bag. Glocks In the Air is a completely directionless track, and while I’m still unsure of the validity of the ‘brostep’ genre, I do know that if it exists, it’s in songs like this. Mindless, pitch shifted ‘drops’ encompass the majority of the song amidst the occasional riff, vocal sample or bass twang. Elsewhere, the more band-orientated themes creep in, as opener Face Stealer and follow up track Sucker Punch both utilise vocalist Derek Song’s voice for subdued verses, massive hooks and crunchy riffs, while drummer Justin Conway manages to shine above the multitude of flashy keyboards. Playing with Matches is amongst the finest tracks here, forcing Conway to obliterate his kit to compete with the pulsating electronics created by stand in bassist Nathan Navarro.
The duo of Talk to Me and Family appear towards the end of the album, abandoning the drum n’ bass riptide in favour of gang vocals, pianos and softer, electronic drumming. Neither of these songs reach the exciting peak of the tracks before, but they prove that the band are capable of making a decent ballad-type track better than the snore-inducing titular song. Then, closer All At Once kicks in. While the vocals are comparatively weak with the exclusion of the fist-pumping chorus, the guitar-centred production, a pulsating bassline and tightly wound drums that switch from catatonic to apocalyptically frantic in a matter of seconds make it an obvious highlight.
When compared to the consistent but uneventful Pinn Panelle
, this EP feels like the work of a band taking risks and attempting to evolve their sound. Unfortunately, it also feels like a compilation of potential singles with little cohesion and awkward misplacement of genre stereotypes amongst an otherwise fairly unique sound. While a jump towards accessibility is almost never a bad career move, there’s clear evidence in their individual performances, both here and on their YouTube channel, that there’s significantly more to the band than Skrillex-aping dubstep tracks.