As we continue on into the early parts of a new year fraught with uncertainty, questionable information sources and increasing attempts at deception – four must review features bloom here in the ever-expanding DaveCromwellWrites universe. The act of writing is a solitary pursuit that requires inspiration to make it work. The artists covered here have provided ample amounts of that, allowing sentences to spark and flow from a rewarding listening experience. With that, we dive in to the mid-February 2021 DCW reviews.
Pulling together a collection of songs written and recorded over the past two years, Indiepop veteran Tom Lugo has now released his latest Panophonic album “AWAKENING.” The Philadelphia based musician has been running his own independent Patetico Recordings label for a number of years now, putting out a steady flow of albums, EP's and singles with a variety of bands and collaborations.
Under his Panophonic brand, Tom works as a solo artist (with only one single collab on the final track), writing everything, playing all guitars, bass, drum programming along with producing, mixing and mastering the tracks. Quite an impressive feat, even in these more accessible home-recording times. Opening track “Shine” comes out blazing, with razor-sharp slashing guitars, counterpoint bass melody and synthetic hissing high-hat percussion. Vocals are pitched low, reverberated and delivered in that William Reid style heard on early Jesus and Mary Chain recordings. After 45 seconds the chorus erupts with additional guitars layering over a sea of vocals creating the blissful sensation more aligned with the band Ride.
Follow-up cut “Drive” changes gears with bright, chiming acoustic guitars leading the way. The drum track is fuller and more traditional trap-set oriented, while an extended note melody line emerges out of the mist. Vocals come on in middle register tone and romantic-pop phrasing with key phrases like “we'll forget all the pain as we drive it away.” Third track “Evermore” introduces tinkling glass-bottle textures as the introduction to what eventually evolves into a bass and acoustic guitar progression. Vocals are processed and delivered with a careful diction not unlike much of John Lennon's work. There's even bits of Beatle-y bass and 'Walrus' inspired rising cello approximations sprinkled in. “For the rest of our lives, living like it's paradise,” is the repeated hook refrain.