[sic] Magazine

White Manna – Pan

Fresh from crushing it at Austin Psych Fest, Pan goes some way to capturing the fabled White Manna live sound. It’s a raw and dangerous return to the cosmic proto-punk of tracks like the confrontational “Mirror Sky” and the swaggering “Sweet Jesus” from the band’s wild debut. Not that sophomore LP Dune Worship’s space-rock opera has been totally shelved for Pan sits at a pretty unique psyche-rock vantage where both sides of the continuum are well represented. Still drawing inspiration from the Northern Californian shorelines of home, take “Dunes” (parts I and II) for example. What begins with righteous holler and reverbed solos quickly ascends into churning hyperdrive and molten swirl that tugs at the very fabric of shape and form, these exfoliating romps chugging through inevitable blowouts which try in vain to unseat the doomy vocal.

A 12-minute reworking of last year’s Live Frequencies opener, “Eshra” starts with the sound of waves and a nebulous swirl that swells to gargantuan proportions – an evolution from self-replicating molecules to the point of axe-wielding dinosaurs. Also pilfered from the same live album, Pan’s single, “Evil”, is a snarling strut that sounds just as should given its name, the track’s killer chorus revving like a biker-bar brawl. It’s perhaps a shade less intense than on those blistering soundboard takes all the same. Pan’s remaining two tracks are also full of particularly swarthy proto-punk ‘tude, G-force vapour trails blazed through rings of heavy riffs. Of these, the muddy title track is a definite highlight; fuzzed-up in speeding leather its rampant wah wah hits literal warp speed, bending the stream of acid-fired frequencies like a Möbius strip.

Cool fact alert! Students at Humboldt State University taking the new Analog Masters class, a course that teaches “the production side of the musical recording industry” during which “students are given experience in, and resposibility for, all aspects of releasing material, both digital and analog products” are 100% responsible for the marketing of Pan! A most worthy experiment, of course, but this mother’s gonna sell itself no matter.

Best track: “Evil”

~Pan is released in multiple vinyl configurations in a 350g, full-colour sleeve with digital download code June 1st 2015 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Captcha. The compact disc version and digital download will include two bonus tracks.~