Panty Lions – So Dang Rad

Panty Lions
So Dang Rad

Simplicity is often mistaken with plainness. It’s a shame, because some of the most beautiful songs owe their natural, divine bearing to simplicity. Over the course of a few decades, simple rock music has taken a backseat to the pompous songwriting flooding the airwaves; however, there seems to be a quiet resurgence in simplicity lately. And it’s about time (not every band has to sound like Sigur Ros and The Flaming Lips– just some). So when a band like Panty Lions comes around, we use them as a cathartic release from the chains of complexity.
Ariana Murray and Ashod Simonian are responsible for creating So Dang Rad, the duo’s debut album, and it’s warm, natural, and incredibly refreshing. It’s like they handed you a tall glass of lemonade, sat you in a rocking chair, and set up fans blowing cool air all around you. Consisting of a Telecaster, a nylon string guitar, and a couple humans, Panty Lions craft an album that wears simplicity like a tight piece of underwear.
Each song has its own hook, but they all seamlessly blend into one another. Imagine Phil Elvrum and Stephen Malkmus collaborating to record Grandaddy’s Sophtware Slump, and you’re getting close. Though experimenting with sound is not the band’s forte, their use of counterpoint with both the guitar and vocals discern the album from the rest of the crowd. Also worth mentioning is their nonchalant style of recording: missed notes here, strained notes there – I don’t think either of the guitars are ever in tune throughout its brief 35 minutes. I have always welcomed this type of style with open arms, but it’s getting to the point where some of these sloppy recordings seem forced and you don’t know what’s truly authentic anymore. All I know is that when I listen to the Microphones, I never question its authenticity, whereas it’s harder to gage with Panty Lions.
Trivial theories aside, So Dang Rad is a good record. It shows the band at their most intimate, leaving hints of their influences in every note. They even cover Pavement’s “Baby Yeah,” a bold move that ends with a great imitation of Malkmus’ quirky vocals. But the most remarkable asset the band has is their ability to get your attention with their simplicity. The band doesn’t need loud distorted guitars, weird time signatures, or strings sampled from 25 ft above the ground to get your attention; all they need is a chance. And though they’re not the type of group you would state as one of your favorite bands or engage in a debate about their lyrics on message boards, they’re the type of group that you can enjoy whatever mood you are in, which is more than you can say about a lot of music out there.