Panic Strikes a Chord

How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Thing

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This is the second indie rock outing from one-man band Jeremy Brightbill, whose friends help him out in a couple of spots. Essentially, Panic Strikes a Chord sounds like every band who wishes they were on Drag City but aren't. One can hear traces of Smog emulation as well as Palace, and numerous others as well. There are also traces of the smart-assed sophisti-pop of Ben Folds and Mike Johnson's neurosis-driven rock, but that seems more coincidental than anything else. This is an obsessed control freak's bedroom music made on a slightly bigger scale. Every detail, every nuance in Brightbill's internal and external lives are magnified to the point of suffocating the listener in minutiae. The stark, manufactured tenderness of "Minat (Ir)," stating in a drug like haze that "my head is caved in from the pressure" leads us to wonder as these elementary guitars and keyboards float by with nothing more than a note or three to hold all this angst together. Ultimately, every song runs into every other one, becoming a morass of indistinguishable indie rock that makes one realize that the easier, cheaper, and more liberating the means to record/CD production are, the more crap like this will find its way onto the shelves of independent record stores and online distributors. Shudder.

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