P:ano The Den

For some bands, the notion that "bigger is better” seems infallible, regardless of the songs covered underneath. The Den, P:ano’s sophomore effort, was produced by Colin Stewart (best known for his work with fellow British Columbians Destroyer and Hot Hot Heat) using 48 tracks and a whole slew of guest musicians, including full orchestration, partially arranged by Giorgio Magnanensi. As such, it’s a much larger sounding album than When It’s Dark and It’s Summer, but the intimacy of Nick Krgovich’s songwriting, which seems far too mature for a 21-year-old, is thankfully still intact. The vocal harmonies, which can’t help but bring to mind Low and Yo La Tengo, also add a lovely charm that becomes especially important during the otherwise underwhelming middle section. At times the production does seem a little much, as can be expected from a group that aspires to drape such a personal record with so many bells and whistles, but The Den still works extremely well for what it is: a wonderful singer-songwriter record masquerading as elaborate chamber pop. (Hive-Fi)