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Fly Pan Am - Fly Pan Am CD (album) cover


Fly Pan Am


Post Rock/Math rock

1.80 | 7 ratings

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2 stars I can’t decide if the various off-shoots of Godspeed You(!) Black Emperor(!) are simply not as talented without their guru Efrim Menuck, or if my expectations are too high, or if I’m simply tiring of this type of music. Maybe a little bit of all three. In any case I found the debut from Fly Pan Am a bit disappointing, and not all that interesting even after repeated listens.

The most immediately apparent difference here is the instrumentation, which is similar to Explosions in the Sky – guitar, bass, drums, and a bit of edited-tape trickery. No strings, which seems like almost a prerequisite for this type of music. The guitars remind me quite a bit of Explosions at times, although the arrangements are more monotonous, and Pan Am spend quite a bit of time just playing unvaried (or only slightly varied) passages during their interminably long compositions. The shortest work here is almost ten minutes, and the completely insufferable “Dans ses Cheveux Soixante Circuits” drags on for almost eighteen minutes, almost all of which consists solely of a two-note sequence repeated over and over and over and over…. You get the idea. I think this may have been done via tape mixes, not sure, but I totally failed to get the point and had to check my player several times during the first few listens just to make sure it was operating correctly.

The opening track “L'espace Au Sol Est Redessiné Par D'immenses Panneaux Bleus” is a bit more interesting, and shows a fair amount of Godspeed influence in the simple few bars that slowly build and morph slightly into what sounds exactly like so many of Menuck’s early compositions. The track runs a bit long at thirteen minutes, with not much point to the last several minutes, but this is pretty decent moody experimental rock, which is of course what it’s supposed to be.

“Et Aussi L'éclairage De Plastique Au Centre De Tout Ces Compartiments Latéraux” has some interesting and oddly-formed guitar notes that I’m not quite sure how they were formed, but the taped special effects lose their impact after several minutes of seemingly pointless repetition.

The first half of “Bibi à Nice, 1921” is almost indiscernible unless you crank your speakers all the way up. I’m not sure if this was intentional but if it was, the effect falls pretty flat. The second half has some decent guitar work/feedback, but not that much different than that on the opening track.

The final track “Nice Est En Feu!” has a decent brooding tempo and some slightly creepy female backing voices that alternate between wordless crooning and humming, plus a little piano. But just as this one finally seems to be going somewhere, it abruptly ends.

I probably did expect too much from these guys considering their pedigree and the Constellation label they were released on. But I suspect others would expect as much as me if they pick this up based on their previous experiences with Godspeed and Silver Mt Zion. They will probably be a bit disappointed just like I was.

Good for completionists or for people who like to wear black and mope around coffee shops bemoaning their presence in the human race, but not worth the money for anyone else. Two stars.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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