Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Desalinization of Surf Music and the Rise of the Panda Band

In the past few years surf music has taken on a whole new meaning. Back in the day, the Beach Boys layered warm melodies with even warmer harmonies that captured the surf spirit of all day fun and sun. Dick Dale wrote speedy riffs based in strange scales that was a somewhat ethereal sonic definition for riding one of those barreling Hawaiian breakers and escaping those crashing curls. And this was all during the days of longboards and “hanging ten” a type of surfing that hardly encapsulates the speed and excitement that the modern shortboard has brought to the sport.

Yet in this era of shortboards, whose shape allows for a higher control and agility over the wave, a paradox has come about with the sound that surfing has been attached to. The Jack Johnson posse of “oh-I’m-so-laid-back-brudda-ness” is just plain nonsensical and nauseating as a genre that it makes me not even want to surf anymore (a completely untrue statement by the author under a breath of heartless hyperbole). It’s as if these songwriters have become more infatuated with the after-surf reefer than the actual activity that goes on in the water.

Thankfully, the Panda Band has brought a nice twist to my animate dismay of surfer music. But to call the Panda Band’s music surfer-music would be like calling Cold War Kids’ music Christian-rock. It would be more acceptable to label the Panda Band as a group of surfers that have actually taken the excitement of their sport and transposed it into song and lyric. There are the aesthetics that most surfers will identify with: the spiritual overtones (“Eyelashes”), the science of waves (“High In Your Saddle”), the athletic bodies (“Lovely Shoulders”), and endless summer love stories (“We’ve Got The Face of the Earth”). But through all this, the Panda Band isn’t in the least bit alienating to those less than seaworthy but rather capable of enrapturing any with their easy on the heart and sharp to the touch take on pop.

[mp3] The Panda BandEyelashes
[mp3] The Panda BandMusical Chairs

BONUS [mp3] The Beach BoysSurfin’ Safari
BONUS [mp3] Dick DaleMisirlou

Pick up a copy of the Panda Band's the Vital Chapter here.


Blogger Arpit Mehta said...

You finally checked em out! I thought you might like it.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous David said...

this band is so great, I just ordered the album - thanks to you.

1:25 PM  

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