Pardoner have shared “My Wagon,” the second single off their highly anticipated new album Peace Loving People, out June 23rd via Bar/None Records. The track finds the band at their most approachable, locking into a laid-back, buoyant groove on the verses, only to be interrupted by uneasy blasts of distortion on the choruses. It’s “sort of a warm, fuzzy lament for a lost future, meant to be simultaneously hopeful and full of dread” explains co-vocalist Trey Flanigan.
Pardoner’s music runs the gamut with big 90’s hooks likened to Teenage Fan Club or Smudge, wiry Devo-tinged riffs, and at points, even edging into off-the-rails US hardcore territory à la Jerry’s Kids and Void. This might sound like some slacker’s deranged rock-fusion vision, but they pull it off with a seamless, concrete sound with hooks that worm their way into your brain like a Cronenberg parasite. The group creates the kind of music that fires you up enough to throw a lava lamp across the living room, or simply relax to with some close friends. Whatever the case, Pardoner leaves an impression with their well-crafted songs, mind-melting guitarmonies, and experimental elasticity.
Brief, surreal interludes like the title track are densely layered rips from those demo tapes, culled from years of tinkering, and serve as evidence of the wide creative net cast by the band in the songwriting process. Having seen more of what the godforsaken continent of North America has to offer, the lyrical component of this album similarly switches focus from broader critiques of hot-button concepts such as capitalism to more specific, incisive observations about young alternative society today, such as trend-hoppers, art, and the miserable artists who make it. While the previous album solidified this group’s capacity for hitmaking, the fourteen forthcoming tracks expand, compound, and exponentially broaden Pardoner’s knack for heady indie and punk. “Are You Free Tonight?” provides a clear mission statement from the band, careening wildly from warmly nostalgic alt-rock to frantic punk, moving away from prior efforts to mix disparate genres together. This time, the different styles are distilled to a purer form of each, and laid side-by-side to jarring effect. “My Wagon” presents the band at their most approachable, locking into a laid-back, buoyant groove on the verses, only to be interrupted by uneasy blasts of distortion on the choruses. “Rosemary’s Gone” pivots to unexpected lush, lovelorn vocal harmonies and then snaps into guitar-centric chaos propelled by van den Berghe’s muscular, precise drumming.
Across the album, listeners can expect higher production value without losing grit, farther reaching arrangements, more dialed in rhythms, and even bigger head-bashing hooks- this is to say, Peace Loving People is the band’s best work to date. In a world with so many dark spots, Pardoner is a shining star. As a great man once said, “Music is the food of love”.
Photo Courtesy: Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes