Panel – 4-Song Demo

4-Song Demo

Panel’s sound harkens back to the early college rock sound of the late 80s, when bands like R.E.M., the Pixies, and the Church were at the top of their game producing powerful pop music. Panel is damn good at it, too, leading me to believe that if Panel was active in those days, they surely would have been receiving a great deal of attention. Hopefully, however, modern pop fans won’t overlook their efforts, because these guys deserve an audience.
Although the fidelity of this recording isn’t the highest, the band refuses to let a lack of technology beat them. All of the performances are refreshingly spot-on. (Many bands that record on lo-fi equipment believe that this is an excuse to not have to play in tune!) “435”, with it’s jangly British-sounding guitars and harmony vocals, will almost certainly have you thinking of Matthew Sweet and Badfinger. The melody runs the show here, and the vocals are crisp and clear enough to drive it home. You’ll almost certainly be humming this one long after it has left the player. And “Tomorrow” is a dreamy yet urgent number that reminds me of the Church in all the right ways. Insanely catchy and well written, I could easily see this becoming a staple on pop radio. It’s a dead heat which of these two songs is my favorite.
“Visual Cue” is a ballad that brings to mind later period Soul Asylum. “Submarines” seems to indicate a folk influence on the band, and it features acoustic guitars, drums played with brushes and a laid-back, “back-porch” sort of feel. The latter two songs are nowhere near as strong as the first two, but they’re nonetheless very well written and performed. Verdict: This is one CD I ain’t trading in for beer money.
Overall, this is quite an impressive debut. Since there are only four songs on this demo, I’d sure like another helping of Panel. Keep it coming guys, it’s tasty!