Panico Resonancia

Working titles for this new album from Panico included the literal Panico in the Atacama Desert and the obtusely poetic, but loaded The Search for the Sound of Gold. But Resonancia, which carries the same multiple meanings as its English translation ("resonance"), couldn't be more perfect. Based on recordings made on a trip into the Atacama Desert, Resonancia is far more experimental than the vocal-led rock the Chilean band are known for from their recordings for Tigersushi. Opener "Cumbia del Fierro" is a nebulous wall of distortion with plodding, tribal drum beats and sweet country rhythm guitar that successfully evokes the overwhelming, dry heat of a desert landscape. Following track "Agua, Tambores" is exactly what it says on the tin — an interlude of samples of running water with a sparse rhythm played on a hand drum — which is followed by "Valle de la Muerte," another slow dirge with an appropriate Morricone influence. The epic "Live at Humberstone" tracks — standouts on the album — were recorded in a metal swimming pool in an abandoned desert town and capture beautifully the haunting emptiness of a ghost town in the desert. Edited with assistance from Fugazi's Brendan Canty, the sound of Resonancia is strange, unpredictable and huge. With "Ritmo del Viento" and "El Perro Negro" being the only two cuts with discernible vocals amongst the eight tracks, the album neatly treads the boundary between experimental noise and straightforward Latin rock. Resonancia will appeal to fans of the more experimental aspects of the most recent Dirty Beaches material and the less abrasive end of Einst├╝rzende Neubauten. (Independent)