Pan Arcadia – Pan Arcadia

A fine indie rock blend of nostalgia and originality...

In the last few years, the pursuit of great rock music has felt more and more like a lost cause. Rock bands either spend so much time trying to channel their heroes that they just become a cheapened, cover band rendition, or they stray so far from the heart of the genre that you have to squint to see any likeness, and even then it’s rarely convincing. The balance of nostalgia and originality has proven to be a tough one to strike, but it seems like New York City rock band Pan Arcadia has done just that on their eponymous debut. 

‘Pan Arcadia’ is a 15-track sonic memoir, patchworked with poetic flourish and a truly commendable number of travel references from vocalist Eamon Rush. The album opens ablaze with ‘Sorry I Was Late’, which pares down to chirpy guitars à la noughties indie rock on the verse and surges into smoldering chaos on the chorus as guitarists Dylan Kelly and Gabe Gonzalez riff off one another.

‘Blue To Gray’ is a reincarnation of prototypal guitar rock, relentless and electric with a sound that evokes the bluesy heaviness of Cream or Led Zeppelin. ‘Drag It Out’ captures tender moments of vulnerability that swell into a mammoth vocal performance, teeming with intensity and a riff so catchy it’s still stuck in my head. Closing track ‘Leaving Paradise’ is a rapturous end to a rock-solid record. Soul-tinged trumpet bejewels the song, but every instrument is cranked to 100, smoking, and nearly on fire. 

Rush’s gritty drawl is often compared to Julian Casablancas of NYC heroes, The Strokes, and the entire band’s worship of the monumental rock gods of music’s past is discernable. But unlike many bands in their echelon, Pan Arcadia doesn’t come across as a lackluster pastiche of a pre-existing group. Their music resonates in the present: it’s heavy, blistering rock ‘n’ roll that circumvents archaic cock rock and performative alt-rock angst in favor of genuine musicianship and a good time. Their lyrics are sincere without encroaching upon pretension, their music resounding while maintaining its studied artfulness. Like any young band, some moments slouch towards formulaic, but on the whole, ‘Pan Arcadia’ is a phenomenal debut effort.

‘Pan Arcadia’ have created their own conception of paradise, and I never want to leave. 


Words: Bella Savignano

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