The Panics – Cruel Guards (7/10)

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Panics frontman Joe Laffer’s husky, weary delivery is instantly reminiscent of Luna’s Dean Wareham or Calexico’s Joey Burns, and the band’s atmospheric mid-paced rock also bears comparison to those bands. Calexico in particular seem to be a strong influence here, with the Western Australian outback substituted for the Arizona desert.

But The Panics are much more radio (and television soundtrack) friendly than Luna or Calexico – occasionally to their detriment as they approach (but thankfully steer clear of) Blunt/Maher sensitive acoustic adult contemporary territory. Nevertheless, this is a great set of songs, very well produced, adding to the rich heritage of Australian rock music.

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