[Album Review] Pang Attack- North Country Psychic Girls
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Release Date: September 9th, 2016
Label: Independent

Pang Attack turn to a number of sources for inspiration, including ‘90s shoegaze and ‘60s baroque pop, but in the end they forge a musical identity of their own — a kind of neo-lounge crooner groove for the new millennium.

The opening track “Monk Song” marks out their territory quite well. Alex Hackett’s rich voice resonates with a yearning over a hazy background of majestic synths and jangle guitars. It evokes a nostalgia for a time and place that never existed, like tapping into an alternate universe. That’s what good music can do, and Pang Attack excel at it.

I am not sure whether Hackett and company are familiar with the works of early Scott Walker (lounge/experimental) or Lee Hazlewood (baroque/country/psychedelic) but they certainly follow a similar path, although this new one is informed with the music of the past 20 years. The title track, for example, has Hazlewood stylings and Walker-like vocals, but it has a dreaminess that owes more to the alternative field of the 1990s than the 1960s.

And it isn’t all about creating a moody soundscape (although I’d happily settle for that) as Hackett’s abilities as a lyricist are well represented. Consider “Hope Nights” wherein he muses over society’s unrealistic and broken dreams with passages like:

“Dreaming boy grabs her skirt hem/

Palms the hair lit fluorescent/

If it’s real then we should fake it once again/

‘Cause it’s all fading.”

If one had to seek out similar contemporaries then Timber Timbre certainly come to mind, although Hackett’s vision is more focused and the overall feel is more laid-back, dreamy and evocative. Timber Timbre are great and everything (I mean that) but for now Pang Attack are masters of an admittedly very narrow genre.