Updated: Feb 18
Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙎𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙄 𝘿𝙤𝙣’𝙩 𝙆𝙣𝙤𝙬 - 𝙋𝙖𝙣𝙚𝙢
Charles goes back to school…
Around 1000 years ago, I finished my compulsory “education” - HOORAY! No more homework! No more essays! But I soon realised my elation was to be short lived - time for university. Ugh. I say Ugh, because it is not what it used to be. Not what it used to MEAN. Going to university used to be rare and have a specific purpose of educating you in a specific field, in order to give you the knowledge and experience needed for a specific job role in life. Having a degree used to be a golden ticket into a better world - IF you were good enough. Nowadays however, one will stand out if one DOESN’T have a degree of some sort. It doesn’t really matter where you went or even what grade you achieved, but simply to have an almost mandatory line near the top of one’s curriculum vitae. Dull and pointless, basically. Of course, this is not the case for medicine, law, architecture and a few other necessary courses vital for a career in that field. But I was NOT going to be a doctor, was I?!
(to all those students among you - ignore me - keep going - it’s worthwhile - smiley face)
Music seemed the only option. The Royal College of Music, in London, did like what I had to offer, but I thought this was just so far away from what I had in mind - old classical stuff - and so opted for a modern music college (in Acton - home of The Who), which needless to say doesn’t exist anymore. Sigh. It was full of like-minded modern musician geeks who were technically astounding. Some of you might be surprised to hear that I actually majored in drums - I had to have my Grade 8 exam (the highest in Britain) completed before my enrolment. Because of the technical aspect of studying drums, we were forever going in to the sort of depth that is barely ever necessary, unless joining a jazz/metal/funk/prog band. Or so I THOUGHT… Let me FINALLY bring you to the point of my past-life: Panem’s single, Something I Don’t Know - from their unofficial EP, Zeitgeist/Absolute Monopoly (I say unofficial because it is only the repeated artwork that gives the impression of an EP).
Panem is a French rock band with a difference. One can instantly tell their inspiration stems from rock of all ages, but their heart sings expression with a need to go further. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s pleasing and reassuring to be led by the pros. The foursome consists only of the highest level technicians, but technicians full of soul and vibe. They very much remind me of the kind of people with whom I went to music college. The song starts with a soothing yet subtly raunchy guitar line, before the leading lady steals our attention, accompanied by a simple yet vital kick on every beat. The sound is straightforward but seamless and full. Towards the end of the second verse however, a small gospel-meets-girl-band choir joins the stage from the wing, to segue us into the chorus. A choir was unexpected by this point, but what truly surprises the listener is the radical change in tempo and feel. To the untrained ear this is maybe jarring and unrelated. But for a more astute listener or musician, this is an unbelievably clever cross-rhythmic transition. For the time-blind of you, a challenge would be to bang your fist on a table with the timing of the verse’s kick, yet through the chorus. If you keep it steady and feel the invisible interlocking structure of the hidden pulse within the new one, it will take you smoothly back into the next verse. Phew!
Let me get one thing straight here, this song is NOT a chore to listen to. It is pure joy. You see, technique of the highest ability should always sound simple and easy - until one tries it for oneself, of course. This chorus is lush, catchy and poppy in a good way. The groove will make you want to punch the air and head-bang in slow motion. We slump back into the verse, completed by a deep male harmony and a satisfying bassline. The second chorus is now already familiar enough to sing along to. The sensational guitar takes a tremendous and expansive solo that is both extremely impressive and naturally comfortable. The vocals join in with wide harmony, as the whole band gradually crescendos to the end of the song.
The final chord could be construed as jazz-like (which it sort of is) but to me it is more James Bond-like. If I’m not very much mistaken, this is a minor 9th chord. So college wasn’t a total waste of time, after all. I was so thoroughly impressed by Panem’s sound, writing and playing ability that I just couldn’t resist bringing them to your attention. They are truly progressive professionals who dig in, down and deep, but with a massive grin on their faces. This is music to fascinate. But beyond the intense grit, your smile will always be present.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish my homework.
Listen to 𝙎𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙄 𝘿𝙤𝙣’𝙩 𝙆𝙣𝙤𝙬 HERE! (6 singles so far - I would advise listening to them all)
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