Pixel Panda's The Nation of Symmetry
Rob Levy
6/2/2004 3:44:09 AM

Kansas City’s Pixel Panda is a band that simply can’t be pigeonholed. Their debut album,
The Nation of Symmetry [House of Tears Sound] celebrates musical diversity without leaving the mosh pit. Popular culture resonates loudly within their ranks causing a polyglot of influences the label claims range from ‘the Korean mafia, Mexican proletariat politics and Latin pop’. Elements of emo, noise, grindcore and punk are slammed in for good measure, creating a whole new pop culture phenomenon. Imagine if you will a sonic orgy with The Locust, At The Driven, Melt Banana and US Maple.

People who want their proto punk, fast, loose and full of crunchy shards of percussion and keyboards will love this! Pixel Panda makes records that ignite, combust, crash and burn. It begins with the instrumental, “Pallaso.” Manic keyboards flutter about, dissolving into a barrage of snappy guitars. “New Bamboo” picks up the slack with a spurious festival of percussion smattered with machine gun guitars and distorted vocals.

“Michael Jordan’s Passing Game” is a mess. It’s loud, crazy harsh and toxic. Frontman Do-Yun Kim screams lyrics like a banshee, creating an atmosphere of chaos and turmoil. “Annual Gift Man” sees him still angry, but within more pop friendlier territory. The razor sharp “Natalie Merchant’s New Job” melds boppy drums with high octane frantic guitars. “Our Band is More American Than You” lashes out against The Man. It leads into the equally snarling, “To Fight Evil (You Must Do Good).” Some serious name checking goes down with “This Week’s Weaker Than the Weakerthans,” a song that sounds like Devo exploding at a Boredoms concert. “Little Enid Action Doll” is a car wreck. It combines Oblivions-like keyboards with punk fury, creating a nice slab of rage sure to emotionally connect with every comic book/punk rock geek’s cold dark heart. Pixel Panda show no mercy with “Suffering Little Bastards,” a hollering wrath of twisting metal punkness thrown down in under two minutes.

On the whole, The Nation of Symmetry is not an album for the faint of heart of kids who want to be cool. Pixel Panda’s a dirty bomb of audio bedlam features mostly inaudible lyrics submerged under crushing barricades of guitars, drums keyboards and bass. The songs are short, brutal and full of biting, no-nonsense social commentary.

The average guy on the street will hate this. The songs make no sense, lack conventional structure, feature no chorus of snappy catch phrases and involve no pleasantries whatsoever. Pixel Panda’s incendiary dose of scotched earth adrenaline pounds, punches and beats you into submission, finally wearing you down. The Nation of Symmetry is a knife fight of sound that raises decibels, hurts ears and scars souls. If this is not your cup of tea, then stay away and hide your children. People should fear Pixel Panda, their unique brand of hoodlum rock is as far from ‘normal’ as anyone can get.


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