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Throw Down The Reins

Throw Down The Reins

Take Beck's Odelay and round off some of the more experimental edges, then add a touch of the poppiest work from the Beta Bands Hot Shots 2 and you're getting close to the sound that the trio Panurge has pumped out on their newest album Throw Down The Reins. Mixing a nice amount of sampling with mostly programmed beats and a small batch of actual organic instrumentation, this is music created for spring and summer with loads of hooks and sing-along choruses.

The album opener of "Sweet Fanny Annie" is at the same time both the most rewarding and frustrating song on the entire disc. Sailing glossy pop vocals over all kinds of hooky guitars and a sloppy fun beat, the track is a load of lazy fun. Lyrically, though, it's quite possibly the worst track on the disc, with only a small trace of the giddy lunacy that the two aforementioned artists seem to pull off so well. Of course, that's a beef with a majority of highly pop music, and complaining about it is like punching yourself in the mouth for enjoying an ice cream bar.

The group is at their best right around the middle section of the album. On "Land Of Jade," a skittering beat adds some percussive excitement to things while drowsy vocals croon and soft horns add another nice touch. Dropping into a tripped-out middle section, the group channels the Betas rather eerily before "Mixed Cavalry" jumps back up to a bouncy pop level with touches of sitar, squealing organs, and goofy percussion.

Although the vocals do work on most tracks, the group does just fine when they back them off a bit. "La Petite Citrouelle" bounces timpani hits off delicate guitar melodies and squiggly synth lines while cut-up and softened vocals are content to drift while the song builds into a pop-tinged psych jam. Even shorter tracks like the chiming progression of "No Think You" help break things up on the album that has a slight tendency to blur in places. Basically, if you're looking for something more experimental, steer clear of here, but if you need a fun pop fix, Panurge will give you a good hit.

Rating: 6.5