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Panic Room - Satellite CD (album) cover


Panic Room


Crossover Prog

3.33 | 74 ratings

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4 stars Panic Room's second spout is a quality segue to Visionary Position, an entertaining perhaps even poppy debut by the former Karnatakans , displaying a strong tendency to have some fun which is sometimes in rare supply in the wonderful world of serious prog. I mean we can't always feed on odd time sigs and rapid-fire chops, we all need some comfort food music from time to time.

Strangely for this rather volatile group, there have been no line up changes in getting this "Satellite" released, so all the usual suspects are in place and seemingly comfortable. No one more so than Anne-Marie Helder who has finally the "Freedom to Breathe" which happens to be the opening track, a fine upbeat rocker that pulsates with a new found energy and an exhilarating disposition. Her vocals are riveting and the material is of fine upbringing. "Picking Up Knives" is another stalwart vocal, a thumping rhythm and some snarly guitar lines from Mr. Davies but its really the Helder show here, she can sing like the wind! To prove the point, the feline purring on the next track "I Am a Cat" is a sensational expose of her lung's talents with slinky guitar, lippy meows and elastic drums providing the musical catnip. All good fun. The romantic "The Fall" is a solid bluesy ballad of complete rapture, showcasing their proggy tendencies even though this is a love song (yipes!) and Anne-Marie delivers a credible and passionate performance, really charming. "Black Noise" is raunchy, a tougher crunch within the guitar phrasings assaulting the ears, with an unmistakable tinge of hard-rock that is pleasing, in a sly way. When the mellotron kicks in post-chorus, there is this revelation of quality; you just know that this is good stuff! The tingling synth solo just confirms it. "Yasuni" is back to gentler climes, with some tortuous axe workouts in the background and elevated vocalizings once again, keeping the interest level high and observant by utilizing various contrasts to keep the beat going. The shimmering "Sunshine" is perhaps the loveliest track here, straight out of the British folk tradition with an arousing hushed voice, sweet harmonics and serene backdrop, evoking breezy summer days where love is in the magical air, among the redolent flowers and the green meadows of Albion. This is a perfect track to introduce to the prog leery lady in your life, seducing her into your unique musical world. Play this as she awakens from her golden slumber armed with a perfect breakfast in bed and well, you can guess the rest... Dazzling composition. The band does not relent as they kick into "Into the Fire", a sublime piece of upbeat balladry once again, confirming the talents of this interesting band. The songs keep rolling in, unafraid and sincere. That alone deserves the highest praise. To prove that they have it right and keep things within baited breath, a brooding church organ flings into action on the murky "Dark Star", a track that will please the gloomy fans who think of the devil from time to time. Atmosphere galore and ultra entertaining. "Muse" is back to piano driven folk music, a wispy lilt that holds no quarrel and drips sweetly like fine brandy. Anne-Marie's wailing is breathtaking, a moment of reflection before unleashing the epic finale title track, arguably the piece de resistance on this recording. A rumbling fretless bass launches "Satellite" quite convincingly, providing the platform to scour the skies with a soaring and majestic chorus that twinkles in the starry night, a sense of restraint and composure that is most beguiling, Davies building up slowly a spiraling solo . The first time I heard this, I knew I was in the presence of something special. And it is. I have been humming this for a while now. Silly me.

Panic Room is not all sweetness and fragility, they are about sunlight and shadows, and as long as they propose such entertaining music, I intend to follow them. Just one question, where is Jody Foster in all of this?

4 frightful orbits

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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