The Panic Beats is not the most stylish band you will come across or the most original. They will not leave you open mouthed with creativity and might in fact have you wondering why you like their debut self titled album so much, but that is simply because it is downright irresistible and totally fun. The release is not trying to be ground breaking or the height of musicianship and uniqueness; it is simply part homage, partly chaotic and all entertaining.
The Panic Beats is the singular chorded solo spawn of Michigan musician Dale Van Thomme, and the album a distorted punk rock offspring cultured within his obvious adoration of The Ramones and love of horror and sci-fi movies. The whole album is steeped in the essence and sound that made the aforementioned punk band essential listening and the source of heartfelt allegiance back in the late 70’s. It is like listening to The Ramones though an aural freakshow mirror, off kilter, at first disarming, and by the end a pure addiction that one loves to return to. There is no pretence to the release, just honesty from the first note to the last. This is nostalgia at its devilish best, working to tease and taunt with a knowing nod to old school punk fans and a mischievous wink.
The songs within The Panic Beats burst in, stay briefly but within that time capture and inspire thoughts and memories of a previous time if in a rather discordant and bordering on disaster kind of way. From the opening excellence of ‘Die Tonight’ the album enchants with a car crash like attraction. This is not meant to sound like a negative as rarely lately has a release given as much inner pleasure as here, yes it carries flaws but they do not matter when the album is this much fun.
The songs are based upon themes of horror and love inspired violence adding a Misfits element but this is totally old school punk, the spirit of The Ramones dragged from ‘the grave’, decomposing and splintered but bringing unbridled enjoyment. Tracks like ‘Bound And Gagged’, ‘One Bullet’, ‘Invasion’, and ‘the wonderful ‘Love Kills’ leave one with a big grin, a pleasured heart and the need to throw on Rocket To Russia or Leave Home. That is probably the biggest problem for the album it inspires such strong feelings for the legendary quartet that many will go to them rather than staying with The Panic Beats’ release.
The album is a little inconsistent but never to a level where one wants to miss any moment and when a track like the triumphant ‘You’re Gonna Mutate’ plays you never want to leave. If you want to be very picky the songs are rather simplistic, Van Thomme’s vocals often challenging the concept of ‘in key’, and the lyrics unoriginally obvious but that is the point and why it’s so enjoyable. It’s a warped homage not a copy and one that works to a high degree. Chants, drum beats and guitars chords are revisited from the past and often within the album but it all adds to the pleasure.
Go check The Panic Beats out, you may disagree about its merits after but you know you will have had fun whilst finding out. With two more albums waiting to be released from The Pulse Beats, there is one here who cannot wait.