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Album Review
More Fun

More Fun
by Panther and the Zoo


Review Date
16th September, 2011
Reviewed by
Nich Cunningham

I didn’t think I would like this album. Panther and the Zoo have been around for a while, first releasing an EP in 2009 and I had a bunch of expectations based on what I knew about them. They were not especially positive. Actually, they were a bit negative. Let me explain.

To start with, there’s always this rather dour looking guy staring at the camera or audience. Maybe I was jealous because of his awesome surname but I figured that if I wanted to see some pissed off looking dude, I could always just look in the mirror. This also did nothing to deflect the impression I had of a fashionable Tweedy-esque self-loathing that seemed evident in the lyrics. Not to mention the smug self-conscious cleverness to it all. Like the percussion was produced by constantly slapping each other on the back. If first impressions count, it wasn’t looking good. Yet as it turns out, this is a really good record.

Because the truth is that all these things are kind of true. And they are true of a great many bands in this style. But somehow, and this is one of those intangible, nebulous kinds of things, More Fun manages to be, well, more fun. It is able to win you over and engage with you. One of the things that broke the ice for me was the rye and subtle humor. It kind of slips past like Bukowski-style one liners: Well observed and very succinct like “You took my advice, I think I might want it back.” There’s many clever arrangements too – the instrumental section of Don’t Think, for example, makes excellent use of syncopation before propelling the song back into the uplifting chorus. There is warmth and hopefulness in the lyrics and feel that suggests Panther & Co. aren’t taking themselves too seriously. Maybe pissed off is merely concentrating, maybe self-loathing is simply black humor and maybe smug is just happy.

You may wonder why I’ve couched this all in what is arguably a strangely negative and apologetic way. The answer is that I am worried many people will have gathered similar impressions. Many won’t have – but they’re not the ones who need convincing. The point is; this is a work worth investigating. The fact that it was able to overcome my prejudices is evidence enough of that.


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