Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Pan wants you to remember the wonder of being alive

October 19, 2012

Pan‘s These Are the Things I Love and I Want to Share Them With You is a perfectly-titled record. It’s an exuberantly happy record, full of soaring guitar melodies, ethereal builds, group vocals and fast tempos. The band doesn’t like calling itself post-rock, but it does have tendencies in that direction; it also has tendencies toward Fang Island-style rock tunes. They even throw in the acoustic track “Mom and Me vs. You and Dad,” but (true to form) the guitarist strums frantically while the band sings wordless melodies loudly. Even though the title sounds antagonistic, the song is so giddy that it must be about board games.

The usual knocks against the post-rock genre apply here: the constraints of the genre can sometimes make the tunes seem similar, it’s harder to connect with some of the wordless pieces, the songs take a long time to get where they’re going. But Pan is not nearly as indulgent as some; These Are the Things crams 12 songs into 40 minutes, for an average of just over three minutes. “Leave Your Body” is six minutes long, but “Mom and Me” is sadly only 1:25. I could have used more of “John from New York,” which has intriguing rhythms, solid melodies and a great vibe.

I’ve been spinning this album for several weeks, and it has staying power. If I’m trying to get some work done, this is perfect power music: energetic, upbeat, but still not so intricate as to be too complicated to process in the background of my mind. If I want to relax, it’s great for that too: “The Things They Can’t Take Away” is a calming piece, while closer “Arkansas” opens with a relaxing piano before building to a massive conclusion.

Pan’s name is supposed to invoke associations with Peter Pan, and their website is YouAreThePan.com. They are sharing things they love with you. Look at the joy in the album art. The title of their debut EP was Post Rock Is Not Dead. How can you resist a band that just wants you to remember the wonder of being alive?

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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