The Panic Division Ė Versus
Release Date: November 1, 2005
Record Label: The Militia Group
Letís do a little mind experiment, shall we? Take The Jealous Sound, de-indie-fy them, inject them with a 300% dose of hard, heavy rock, heap layers upon layers of dark, atmospheric, electronic textures on the bandís palette, and marvel at the product: The Panic Division. The bandís Militia Group debut, Versus, is an exceptionally crafted, melancholy, dark, electronic-based, spacey, heavy-hitting, pop-tinged rock record; yes, itís as good as it sounds.
Whereas many bands these days scatter electronics throughout their songs simply as an afterthought, The Panic Division actually writes their songs based off the electronic loops they create. Such a process results in a very genuine sounding record: the electronic loops and keyboards weave in and out of the songs gracefully, never coming or leaving abruptly, but always setting the mood and helping to carry the songs where they need to go. Weaned on such artists as Aphex Twin, DJ Shadow, and Snapcase, singer Colton Holliday says the band tries to combine electronic and rock music ďthe right way.Ē Well, Mr. Holliday, The Panic Division has succeeded. With flying colors.
When I listen to Versus, I am immersed in a world all my own. The mood the album creates is one I empathize with: melancholy, and a sense of loneliness. Err, I guess that makes me sound like Iím depressed, but Iím not. Itís just a warm feeling to know that other people can create music that sounds the way I feel at timesóafter all, isnít that what music is about? Whenever I listen to the album, I feel like Iím wandering around in a desolate, urban, city late at night, just walking and thinking. Yeah, thatís pretty weird, I know, but the album does that to me. And I love every second of it.
The rich, textural electronic samples perfectly complement the heavy, hard-hitting guitars, and though Iíve said this before, the fusion of the two really is remarkable. The synth loops are deep and expressive, the swirling, oft-delayed guitars are full-bodied and ready to smack you in the face, and the vocals and harmonies are smooth and melodious. The production is nice and thick with the guitars, but allows for some breathing room tooóit fits the music perfectly. If you were reading this review to figure out whether or not to buy the album, the answer is a resounding yes. Well done, The Panic Division, well done.
Soaring. Thats the one word that comes to mind when I listen to this album. I've seen them live three times. And I love it. They're also great guys. Very fun to hang out with and chill over coffee. Very receptive to hearing about all the different areas they are in.