Pay attention to the song titles, kids: ‘We Are Louder’ and ‘If You Were Once Young, Rage’. Yes, they are, and yes, you should.
Things Are Strange features a number of cuts compatible with the art of rioting; equally, they lend themselves rather splendidly to the ripping up of a club’s dancefloor (although what DJ would spin these brutally barbed punk-rock missives, we don’t know). Opening pair ‘Legally Tender’ - “America’s getting stranger, I’m scared of Americans” - and ‘Theory Is Famous’ set a misleading scene: although the brace bear beat-heavy hooks and thundering punk guitars, much of this album sounds like the product of a more brooding beast.
The aforementioned ‘We Are Louder’, for example, is a slow-building fuzz-hued epic: it begins as a rumble before, some eight minutes later, collapsing atop itself, breathless and emotionally spent. Between the points of Go and Stop lie numerous twists and turns, each executed with a methodical patience and each leading to a dead end, all about turns leading to another red-herring route. It’s as intense as the Icarus Line’s more hallucinogen-hazed droners, and as dramatic as any Hydra Head-style instrumetal act. A number of other offerings follow similarly skyscraping trajectories splendidly.
The New Yorkers’ calling card, ‘Thanks For The Simulacra’, appears here in its original form: lusty lyrics complemented by a suitably riotous racket. If we were dishonest we’d instruct you to seek out the funkier remix, reviewed elsewhere on these pages, as it’s by far the superior version; as we’re in the business of honesty, though, this equally frantic interpretation necessitates your attention, such is vocalist Jayson Green’s insistence that he and you are not the same. You’ll believe him, too; you’ll believe him or he really will leave Brooklyn for a while and fucking scream as much to you in person.
So pay attention now, kids: Panthers really aren’t your easy-fix fashionistas raping a quick buck from the decaying corpse of the mainstream-straddling funky punks we’ve (mostly) come to abhor. They know their rock, and they know they’re rock; all that’s required now is for you to think likewise.
8Mike Diver's Score