Panel of Judges : Moods on the Move
If Panel of Judges' last record, Bad Vibrations, was an honest appraisal of the emotional dynamic within the band during the band's conception and recording, the follow-up album, Moods on the Move suggests a quantum leap in both psychological assessment and musical exploration.
Certainly, the opening track, Bugles on the Moon is as warm and inviting as a chunky-knit jumper and cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter's evening. Skip ahead a couple of songs, and Listen to Me immerses you in a world that's playful and flirtatious, Drifting Away is dreamy surfside psych-pop and Rocking Chair is the indie lo-fi equivalent of a second essay on the physics of pop. Cock an ear to the brass-spiked call-and-response of Coconut Trees and you're transported back to the mythological era of 60s garage pop and wide-eyed philosophical piety.
But for all of Panel of Judges' delicately perfect pop sensibility, Moods on the Move possesses an emotional depth that's as elegant as it's enticing. Witness the brooding Mountain Eyes, the introspective Dainty Vagabond, the bleeding-raw honesty of ME 2 and the dark folk intensity of Rainy. And then there's the concluding coda, Take the Long Way, an almost seven-minute dose of pop whimsy. Panel of Judges' emotional mood has moved on from Bad Vibrations; the music has too, and it's even better.
In a word : Lo-fi.
If you like this, immerse yourself in: Calvin Johnson and K Records.
Key track: Coconut Trees.