Moon Panda – What on Earth
From opening track Falling, Moon Panda’s debut transports the listener to a sun-drenched California coastline, distorted through carefully chosen synths until the sunset and ocean have changed places but make just as much sense. Through songs like Anemone – as playful in its imagery as it is in its melodies – and the haunting but grounded, ethereal but tactile murmurs of Animated Forest, the duo gently overstep the boundaries of the pop formula, providing a melodic and ever-timely reminder to take things a little less seriously if we want to.
The themes woven in and out of this collection of songs are time and space, and just how wonderful it is to have even a little bit of either one of these. Slow Drive takes us on an off-road adventure somewhere up in the sky, while Vacationer encourages looking for the luxury in being exactly where we are, and for the thrill of having the chance to go slowly for once. The band’s energy is contagious – Moonrise mixes drums evoking the Arctic Monkeys at their most insistent with a deliciously amplified guitar melody and not too much else, categorically refusing the possibility of overcrowding Maddy Myers’s dreamlike vocals. And of course, final track Cloud Watching brings this dream to an end as gently as the sun when it rises again.
Altogether, What on Earth delivers a measured, sophisticated, thoughtful debut record from a duo of formidable musicians – an album to paint to, to walk to maybe, and – of course – to drive to. Moon Panda clearly know their way around a studio, but the artificial touches to this record do not detract from those creative elements of magic and wonder that they’ve kept intact to share with the listener in each track.
What on Earth is released on 4th March 2022. For further information or to order the album visit Moon Panda’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Slow Drive here: