Hot Panda’s third LP starts off like a baton charge at a mass protest with One In The Head, One In The Chest. It is satisfyingly direct in its anger.
Future Markets scratches around at first, then curious bleeps glide and attack. Bridging this is Chris Connelly parsing the wisdom behind the role of voodoo economics within our societies – banks slowly ensuring that we’re dying on the vine. It’s an accomplished song sung both forlornly and predatorily.
Compared to what precedes it, Littered Coins is a lesser affair. However there are some gratifying, incongruous orchestral movements attacking an acoustic foot-stomper which puts you in a surreal mood.
Maybe Now? has a Dunedin sound to it, capturing a sunny pop playfulness but still retaining a dark threat. Holidays, because it musically reflects the inert psychosis of the lyrics, is sloppy, like a sulking teenager grunting for two lumps of sugar.
Winter Song, sitting next to this temporary slump, instead fizzes with crystal energy. The opening is a symphonic reminder of how this record can go in any direction it wishes.
See You All Around has a Stranglers organ riff and a throbbing dance beat acutely compressed into the space of three dizzying minutes. The hooks are memorably effective.
The Where Is My Mind? theatrics of Boats maintains the quality that Hot Panda are capable of producing. Negative Thinking Patterns is the contrarian that tells you primal screaming does get you somewhere, and how it’s played out – a two minute fit heading for a breakdown – shows it to be an abrupt stop.
Go Outside has the rebellious strength to be absorbing. The themes which go around the record are presumably a major factor for this, but the inventiveness of the music pickpockets your attention. It makes great efforts at being new wave, poppy, dance-oriented and surreally experimental – though as it’s so proficient you hardly notice the spheres of influence, only the one this could have on you.