Panic in Detroit – S/T EP

For about a year now, I’ve been a very outspoken personal proponent for CDs with short run times. I’ve come to realize over the past few years that I’d much rather hear a band put out a solid 15-20 minute EP than I would have them put out a mediocre 50-60 minute album. Still, though, sometimes I get those rare occasions where I find myself actually cursing a band for not releasing a longer album.
That brings me to Panic in Detroit, whose debut five-song EP is so incredibly well put together that I find myself almost disappointed that I only get five songs of the band’s guitar goodness. Please note that I’m not in any way disappointed with the actual music itself, as this stuff rocks, and it rocks hard. Panic in Detroit switches from arena rock-worthy crunch rhythms to jangly romps with ease, and the result is a damned good little EP.
“We Own Everything” opens the disc with a mix of thick rhythm guitars that back piercing ‘rhythm leads’ (the type of thing that the Foo Fighters did so well on The Color and the Shape), as well as Ryan Chavez’s intense, borderline hollered verses. “Young Attraction” is catchy catchy CATCHY number, even though the guitars are thick and chugging. The track pulls a stop-and-go bit in the middle, as the song disappears and reappears right smack dab into quite the rock star guitar solo.
The lyrics on the album are fairly unobtrusive, though the peppy “A Major in Biochemistry” does rip out a good verse that declares, “When you leave, we’ll go right back to where we started / Romantically retarded / Falling over and on each other.” “Whatever, Whatever” comes off as the catchiest track here, taking a bed of soft, 60s-sounding keyboards and supporting it with slightly off-time drumming that frames Chavez’s voice nicely. The chorus beefs up a bit into some stutterstepped rhythm guitars (which get double-tracked later on behind a verse), and eventually a catchy little rhythm lead breaks out. By the end of the track, the band busts into some balls-out rock, busting into a powerful solo that pushes the track from jangly to just flat-out rocking. From there, the band winds up with “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a balls-out rock number that’s way more intense or aggressive than anything else preceding it. Even amongst that, the band manages to sneak in an anthemic, yell-along chorus.
There are a million different little things about this EP that I could go off about for hours. In spots, the rhythm leads and guitar solos get double tracked, giving some of the guitar work that ‘dual-tone’ Thin Lizzy guitar sound that I’ve always freaked out over. Catchy guitar rhythms get subtly backed by pinpointed double-timed second guitars in spots, and in other spots, guitars just soar from catchy to crunchy in smooth transitions. Best of all, at least three choruses on this EP had me singing along loudly in the car without my even noticing it. What else is there to say? Panic in Detroit’s that damned infectious.