HEAR THIS: PARDONER
Cross the energy of early 90’s Chapel Hill with the post-tech invasion blues of the Bay Area, and you have a pretty fair fix on where Pardoner is coming from. Formed at San Francisco State University, and settled on the always evergreen combo of off-kilter observations and an onslaught of guitars, debut Uncontrollable Salvation came out on Father/Daughter Records, introducing them to the world at large.
After follow up Playin’ On A Cloud, Max Freedland moved to Canada, putting their future in doubt. Subsequent demos came together, the band woodshedded, a new LP was born, and Pardoner was reborn. Came Down Different is out now on Bar None Records, home to early Yo La Tengo and The Loud Family, which seems fitting.
Pardoner is Max Freeland (vocals, guitar), Trey Flanigan (vocals, guitar, and band artwork), River van den Berghe (drums), and Colin Burris (bass). In just over half an hour, they make their case soundly, kicking off with the delirious “Donna Said”, shifting gears into “I Wanna Get High To The Music”, before moving back to overdrive with “Spike”. Moving from strength to strength, the deluge continues with “Broadway”, an absolute gem. “Tranquilizer” hits hard, and “Lucky Day” dials it back, before returning to the now-familiar squalls.
It’s hard to pick high points in an LP so chock full of them, but the run of “Bunny’s Taxi”, which captures the mad energy of Pavement hurtling down the Grapevine, dropping into “Hammer Factory” and “Totally Evil Powers” will certainly suffice. Came Down Different culminates with a double shot of the title track and the majesterial “F**k You”, making this a band you definitely want to catch as live shows resume.