The FREQUENCY-IRELAND Music Alternative

An independent voice on choice sounds from the alternative/underground music scene in Ireland.
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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Panda Kopanda - The Ocean Of Fire EP

Considered by many to be Belfast's finest emerging indie band today, innovative, emotive and quirky, Panda Kopanda have been described previously as 'a bruised and heartfelt twist on indie pop'. Formed around 2002 they have become quite well respected in many circles, and their debut EP 'The Letting Go' was released to much critical acclaim in 2005 on the now defunct Howl Records. Currently label-less, 2006 sees Panda Kopanda set to deliver a new EP entitled 'The Ocean Of Fire'.

While comparisons have often been drawn in the past with Pavement, their clean-cut vocals and massive radio friendly melodic choruses can often remind a bit too much of the ilk of Snow Patrol for my liking. An attribute which saves them from sounding overlty generic radio-indie-pop is an endearing lo-fi indie slacker attitude, as does their ability to intertwine some rather creative arrangements.

A few tracks from their 2006 EP 'The Ocean Of Fire' show some solid improvements from their 2005 offering, demonstrating a greater willingness to diverge a bit further from safe indie-pop sounds. While the lead track 'About My Temper' is undoubtedly the one which will draw the most attention, the clear favourite for me is 'Open Ground', which starts off tender, and delicately poised, it is soon offset by restrained aggression and some crunching riffs as the song progresses - all in all an excellent tune, and surely their finest moment yet.

Although 'The Letting Go' EP is available for purchase online from their myspace, 'The Ocean Of Fire' does not yet appear to be available. However, the track 'Open Ground' is available for download, while some other songs from 'The Ocean of Fire' EP can also be streamed. Panda Kopanda play a few dates in Northern Ireland in late August at Vital '06 in Belfast Botanic Gardens (22nd), and The Forfey Festival in Enniskillen (25th), before journeying south of the border to play a few dates in Cork (26th) and Limerick (27th) with Redjetson and envelope.

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