“Chat Noir” has kind of an odd, dark feel, particularly at the beginning, but also mentions K-Mart in its lyrics, so you know not to get too carried away by its tone. “Sweet Jackie’s Revenge” is a more interesting track, with a spoken word style that actually calls to mind at times some of the louder work of King Missile. Yes, seriously. There is also a kind of beat thing happening here that is fantastic. But figuring out where to come in with your finger-snaps might be difficult – and unnecessary, as the band is filling out the poetry with inspired sounds. There is some seriously cool work on guitar on this track.
But my favorite track is “Blue Dust,” with its slow, delicious acoustic vibes. Like a country song twisted around a bluesman’s bloody arm. And with great and surprising lines like “She’s an uncharted member of the upper crust” and “She says she’s just waiting for that train to rust.” Improvised? Wow. Just fucking wow. And I dig what Joe Berardi is doing on drums. Basically, I love this song.
“Bodhi Tree Mama” quickly develops a very cool groove, and they play with it for a couple of minutes before Stew comes in on vocals. This is such an unusual song, because it simultaneously feels like a bit of funk and a meditation. You could move to it, or sit with it, and be very happy either way. It’s followed by “Bumpin’ Morton Subotnick,” which opens with the question, “Is Moorpark a boulevard or avenue?” (The answer, by the way, is – surprisingly – “street.” Moorpark Street is located in the San Fernando Valley.) Stew asks the rest of the band while they begin another excellent groove. You can’t really hear the answer, if there is one, and Stew gives up and sings the first line of the song, “Cruising Moorpark,” leaving a gap after “Moorpark” where “Avenue” or “Boulevard” or “Street” would be. This song has a great sense of humor, with lines like “Don’t tell me it’s the wrong approach/I’m Morgan Freeman and you’re the acting coach” and “Tuesday night in Tarzana, what the hell did I expect?” I love what Stew does vocally on this track. This is another highlight for me.
“President” has more of a straight rock flavor, but with some less-than-usual lyrics. “Behind My Green Door” is a groovier tune and again with some unusual lyrics. “Keep the torture chamber tidy/Bring the homegrown from the hills/Call the lawyer nightly.” There is also a cool drum solo midway through. The album then concludes with “Blowoff Therapy,” which has more of a trippy vibe which I like.
CD Track List
- Chat Noir
- Sweet Jackie’s Revenge
- Marcy Boo Coo
- Blue Dust
- Bodhi Tree Mama
- Bumpin’ Morton Subotnick
- Behind My Green Door
- Blowoff Therapy
Panorama City is scheduled to be released on April 14, 2015 on 11 Foot Pole Records.