REVIEW: Panama ‘It’s Not Over’
Sun soaked Sydney 5-piece PANAMA have developed a sound that stands as a meditation of sorts between melodic dance beats and guitar pop hooks. In It’s Not Over, their new EP release, we have a fully developed and confident point of view that is drenched in a deceptively sweet and heartfelt mood which flows throughout the 6 tracks.
‘Heartbeat’ serves as the opening track for It’s Not Over and it is one that sets up both who this band is and the sound of the very EP. We begin with a keyboard riff that slowly draws the ear in with its very electric but smooth pulsating beat, and then once Jarrah McCleary’s vocal hit the sound develops into a stellar mid-tempo dance track that plays on both McCleary’s interesting voice, while highlighting key instrumental work.
This is then followed by ‘It’s Not Over’, the very track the EP draws its title from. ‘It’s Not Over’ is another mid tempo dance/pop jam with a chorus that is one of the EP’s highlights. It’s catchy and sing-a-long in without being dumb. Here, McCleary’s vocals are again drenched in pathos, yet you get the sense that they could also be tinged with hope. And then roughly three-quarters into the track the vocals disappear and we are treated to the band and the instruments, which they play lovingly. This is a standout moment of all the tracks because they have a great harmony between their electric instruments and their live ones. Never is one negated for the other, instead there is just a great combination of sounds that really works and subtlety captivates a listen.
From this moment the tracks that follow all gradually gain pace and tempo. It’s as if we are moving from an afternoon to a party at night, especially given that these tracks are punctuated by funky baselines, sleezy pop lyrics and house beats. However, no matter how varied the sounds are, all still work as a collection of songs on the one EP.
Strongly indicative of similarly sun-soaked Sydney-siders Van She and New Navy, PANAMA’s It’s Not Over is another release is a trend of dance rock sounds, yet stands on its own thanks to a strong personality and clear point of view that never drowns under the pop hooks or instrumental flourishes.
Words by Luke Letourneau