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EP review: Panji and the Buffalo – Rare Moves

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Fans of the schizophrenic, math rock onslaught of You Slut! will immediately find much to love in this, the first solo effort from the band’s drummer Daz Cook’s debut solo effort as Panji and the Buffalo.

Panji and the Buffalo - Rare MovesThe opener to Rare Moves titled ‘Ballad of Dan Pidgeon’ would make the perfect introduction to a new YS album as it builds to a guitar crescendo from big riffs and off-kilter time signatures.

But this EP sees Cook flexing his muscles as a composer, proving there is much more talent and depth to both his musicianship (he plays every instrument on the EP) and his compositions than you might expect - even despite the quality of his work in the previous band.

This is a release of two halves, with one section expanding on the frantic, collapsing riffage of his cult math rock favourites on tunes like ‘Bubblin’ and ‘Chromos’ and the other starting to explore folk and electronic elements as the music forces itself it the realms of pop melody.

Second track ‘Parasol Stare’ is full of folk yearning and is uplifting and wonderful in its subtle approach, while ‘Polygon Switchblade’ is another departure with its folky echoes packed with melody.

‘The Hired Guns’ takes a folktronica route and captures an awful lot in its tiny one minute running time. The only criticism of these new style cuts is they run a little on the short side.

The last two tunes come like a full-on punch to the face only to be followed by a nice loving huge! ‘Taneo’ is a full on prog-metal-math-rock banger with maximum riffage, interspersed by lolloping slow sections, leading on to the releases last sigh ‘SWIV Dreams’.

This is another electronic, folk-infused track that has a rural air to it also displayed by other local acts like Haiku Salut and Grawlix – fine company to keep for this foray into new areas of sound.

All in all Rare Moves, as a singular vision from Cook, feels more coherent than his previous work and displays him as an accomplished artist that, if the experimentation continues, we should expect the unexpected and with it future greatness in terms of new releases.

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