Panurge Throw Down The Reins

Electro-pop experimentalists Panurge have created an eclectic and intriguing first record with their Nettwerk debut, Throw Down The Reins. The trio of Daniel Byrne, Chris Lovell, and Jon Schubert have formulated an approach to writing sophisticated pop music that is in the same vein as genre-hoppers like Beck or Eels, melding sonically pleasing effects with deceptively simplistic acoustic guitar chord progressions. Together since the late ‘90s, Panurge have endured their fair share of geographic obstacles with all three members living apart until the early part of this decade. The spectre of distance is present on Reins, which combines disparate musical styles with an open-ended approach to recording that saw the band experiment in studios, basements, and even forests. While songs like "Sweet Fanny Annie” and "Mixed Cavalry” contain some of the slacker angst evident in singles by Pure, more ambitious tunes ("Ginny and The Flower Man” and "Land of Jade,” to name but two) recall Stephen Merritt’s work in both the Magnetic Fields and the 6ths. There’s an underlying psychedelic haze to this record that seems appropriate given the drum machine’s tendency to shift from laid-back "For What it’s Worth” rhythms to full on jungle beats. All told, Panurge are sure to appeal to a broad range of music lovers with Throw Down The Reins. (Nettwerk)