Young and Sexy

Panic When You Find It

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2006's Panic When You Find It is another sophisticated, smart, and tuneful album from Vancouver's Young and Sexy. On it, the band refines their already pristine sound, tightens their lyrical scope, and comes up with a truly heartbreaking and musically breathtaking album. As the stark black-and-white artwork on the sleeve foreshadows, almost all of the lightheartedness that colored their previous work has disappeared and in its place are dark lyrical themes (the bruised lips and soldiers of "Your Enemy's Asleep," the wrenching loss of "Without Your Love," the bittersweet sadness of "Turn on Your Weakness"; even the less-than-serious, country-influenced. office rock-ballad "Satellite" is dipped in regret) and mid-tempo tunes so autumnal you can nearly smell the burning leaves. The richer and more restrained instrumentation of Panic deepens the feelings of melancholy the lyrics inspire, most of the songs have the kind of epic layering and classic chamber pop arrangements that can go so wrong in the hands of bands who don't have the songs or sure-handed restraint to make something real out of their influences. Tracks like "5/4," "The Curious Organ," and "Conventional Lullabies" are perfectly constructed with soaring choruses, subtle instrumentation, and vocal harmonies that can raise goose bumps. Co-vocalists Lucy Brain and Paul Hixon Pittman blend like siblings rather than the ex-lovers they actually are, and their reserved and calm vocals allow the melodies and arrangements to deliver the emotional punches. Indeed, their harmonies on "Turn on Your Weakness" will rip the heart right out of more vulnerable listeners, and their vocalizing on "Trespass on a Thought" conjures up the Go-Betweens circa 16 Lovers Lane which is just about the highest praise one can imagine for a band like this. Young and Sexy has grown older and more real, and Panic When You Find It is an album that proves once again that the band has few peers when it comes to making smart and sophisticated adult pop in the mid-2000s.

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