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Pardoner is a noise band from the Bay Area, a place than has been increasing its portfolio of distortion happy music since the turn of the decade. Ranging from surf pop to heavy shoegaze, the Bay Area’s garage-revival had evolved into a full blown noise movement, with acts like Ty Segall, The Fresh & Onlys, and Mikal Cronin, to scratch the surface.
Following up their debut EP, Happy Trails!, Pardoner quickly wrote and recorded their second effort of 2015 during and in between their tours with San Francisco’s Plush, whom they also share a member with. The band’s volatile temperament is reminiscent to that of Polvo and Chavez, along with dabs of reverb and delay that are usually found in shoegaze music.
Playing over what sounds like an excerpt from a televangelist program, the warbled “Grand Prix” sounds like a hobbled version of the National Anthem. Leaning heavily on their guitars’ tremolo bars, all of the tracks stir up feelings of anxiety and fabricate a mirage of turmoil. Like its predecessor, “God On His Motorcycle” makes an automotive reference in its title, while the next two are drug references, both relative to their tempos. The track is sodden torrential instrumentation that reek of angular ferocity and adrenaline.
The lazy “Stoney Lonesome” percolates with bright twang and a snaky groove that feels slightly unsettling as it scales up and down. Despite pulling back on the tempo, the band sounds even more frenetic with the looming pace. For the closer, the band is uncharacteristically melodic on “Huge Needle,” where their sound begins to align more towards shoegaze and less punk. The thick octane rich guitars give way to the lush reverb, yet still has that sense of urgency that was built up earlier in the EP.
Cereal Pairing: Bran Flakes with your least preferred beer