Barbara Panther – S/T

Possibly the best, most “human”, pop record of the year.


http://www.konkurrent.nl http://cityslang.com


An agreeable and sparkly record: sometimes daft, but very accessible and with enough hooks and melody to have even the most curmudgeonly tapping along. I should say it’s a classic pop record, one that – despite all the uses of pop lingo (“make it real”, etc… arrgh!!!) and a battery of sonic tricks - doesn’t feel manufactured at all. Maybe because I feel this is an instinctive record; there are things on the album that are enjoyably naff, others that are irritating, but lots of moments that are just brilliant: just like most things driven by instinct. The songs sound like they couldn’t have been made outside of a flash of inspiration.  Certainly you get the feeling there’s no “team” behind this release.


But enough theory. Pop music doesn’t come more appealing than this. Dizzy is the soulful and beautiful appeal to a lover, Rise Up is a marvellous call to arms and the immensely catchy Moonlightpeople, replete with a ridiculous squeaky vocal counterpoint: “check it out now” – which you can’t stop repeating to yourself - has hit written over it. The last track, Ride to the Source, is a beautiful mix of rumbling samples, muted percussion and very effective vocal cut-ups. Voodoo is a cracker too; a stop-start pop song with a chorus led by an appeal to “move over to the other side” and you certainly fancy following her.


The girl has a breathless, “come play with me” voice that swoops and soars and informs the mood of each track. At times (especially on the up tempo numbers, such as Empire), you are reminded of Bjork.  She also has a bit of a cute lisp - really noticeable on Voodoo - which makes everything feel very Euro-poppy. If I can be indulged a metaphor, I must say that some of the lyrics walk a sagging tightrope over the abyss of the absurd: I noted “every night I pray like a bitch”, “you have a lovely bottom”, and “you make me promise only when you’re bleeding”.  There are many more, including a lover being encased in an oyster shell… and how does one plug into another dimension exactly? It’s all very Holger Czukay …. But I’m writing this because I notice these things: the record is engaging enough and has enough personality to capture your attention, warts and all.


Possibly the best, most “human”, pop record of the year.