Chicago indie-rock ensemble, Panther Style have brought the alternative rock sound back to the Windy City. The alternative music genre really hasn’t seen much popularity here since the early ’90s but was important, nonetheless. With old school acts like Smashing Pumpkins and Pixies still reverberating across radio airwaves, Panther Style put together their first-run debut and eloquently called it ¡Emergencia!.
The album name is fitting in more ways than one. Being a noun in Spanish meaning “emergency” the name something of an attention getter and the fact that it’s a feminine word in the Spanish language plays off the vocals of Jeanne McClure and Melissa Koehl. So far as Windy City indie music scene is concerned, this profusion of musical talent is top notch and set to soar into the stratosphere.
Panther Style is a mishmashed group of musicians from all walks of life in the Chicago area. Rock troupers McClure, Al Rodis, Dan Lutger and Koehl from bands like: Mary Tyler Morphine, Siderunners, Dyslexic Apaches and Reptoids come together to create what Reverbnation is calling “heavy, tasty pop.”
Their debut album is poppy, for sure, but it also has moments of unrefined garage hints. An excellent example is their hard-hitting standout, “The Instrumental,” which is anything but your average, run-of-the-mill instrumental. The name alone is quite deceiving, because there are a substantial amount of lyrics throughout. “Don’t Say You Will” follows suit with stabbing guitar riffs and a heavy bass line. It has something reminiscent of the Buzzcocks with their driving guitar licks and shrill vocal appeal.
As the album progresses, so does Panther Style’s sound. From song to song, the band trades off on multiple scopes of tempo and lyrical styling from girly sounding songs like “Biggest Fan” and “Forbidden” to more hard hitting ditty’s like “Sex Panther.”
The echo-y vocals are constant throughout, grounding the music and making the album an excellent collection, but with the change of a track the ear is treated to another take on pounding rock ‘n’ roll.
Though Panther Style does a good job of melding old and new within their music, they take a trip back—way back. They take the listener on a sojourning trip to a time when MTV had cool shit like 120 Minutes and—lets face it—actual music. Panther Style included an amazing cover of The Posies song, “Blind Eyes Open” as their closing track. Few things can be said about an album that brings older music back to life and Panther Style does it with good form.
¡Emergencia! is a solid album, but lacks showcasing the band’s male counterparts in the vocals. This album is a great record but the future for Panther Style could lay in their vocal diversity. There is no groundbreaking takeaway here, but as the music world continues to turn, those who stand out the most will live on.
Panther Style – ¡Emergencia! Tracklist:
- “Seeing… Just Not Believing”
- “The Instrumental”
- “Fingers Crossed”
- “Biggest Fan”
- “Straight Razor”
- “Sex Panther”
- “Don’t Say You Will”
- “Blind Eyes Open”