What does Panjoma sound like?
An atypical mixture of chaotic dream pop and experimental melodies.
The review of Panjoma – Sun and Moon
Panjoma is an electronica duo that has been silent on the music scene for over 8 years. They’ve returned with their EP “Sun and Moon” and the Austin pair have a surrealist way of delivering songs. It’s a bit like if Goldfrapp, Bjork and Karin Djeijer from The Knife and Fever Ray had a party.
The EP is split into two distinct sections. The first trio of songs is a “Sun and Moon” cycle with a Dawn and Dusk additions on either side of the single. The opener Dawn is an acoustic piece whereas Dusk is an obscure ambient and noise performance. The title track sandwiched between them reminds me of The Knife, Bjork’s ‘Volta’ phase and Goldfrapp’s ‘Black Cherry’ album. It has thick rubbery synths and an aggressive buzzsaw bassline. Coupled with chunky trip-hop beats and some unusual chords and vocal hooks, it is wonderfully weird. Panjoma’s voice is heavily vocoded into a robot but her voice shines better where it’s left to roam freely.
That opportunity is given elsewhere. “Free” is a track that has a skipping vinyl string stab as a rhythmic synth base. It sounds like it’s stuck but the chords change and the drums trickle in around the thick and vibrant synths. Panjoma’s voice reminds me heavily of Melanie Garside. She has a playful baby cute side but with an edge to it. “Like Thunder” really plays this dichotomy out best. The track is an excellent rolling percussive pop train with added saxophone and neon-tinged synths. The vocals flip from baby cute choruses so a more disillusioned chorus hook. Closing track “Bleeding Sun” pulls the duo into its most experimental track. The main melodic hook has every single instrument being played in reverse but there is an overall melody and chord progression that is playing normally forward. It sounds like they are playing around with part of the Tubular Bells riff too, so it has a creepy, broken yet beautiful and engrossing vibe.
“Sun and Moon” is at its best when Panjoma absolutely give into their love for unusual instrumentation and production. They offer something unique and interesting and whilst there isn’t a big anthemic moment, there doesn’t need to be. It’s full of quirky moments that add up collective to be a fun oddity. Definitely one for the alt-electronica lovers.
Recommended track: Bleeding Sun
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