Panama - It's Not Over

Panama - It's Not Over

There are several theories about the origin of the name Panama, in relation to the origins of the country, though the most commonly held one is that the word 'Panama' means "abundance of fish, trees and butterflies", or at least this is the official definition given in texts approved by the Ministry of Education in Panama. What we do know though is that the word 'Panama' conjures up imagery of lush tropical vistas and beachside frivolity amidst a sun-drenched atmosphere. You can now add to that list the sublime, sultry sounds of local electro pop act of the same name, Panama.

Formed under the helmsmanship of Jarrah McCleary, a classically trained pianist hailing from the Northern Territory, Panama came to life amidst the dissention of McCleary's former pop rock project, The Dirty Secrets, who went over to southern California to embark on their musical odyssey. However, what no one expected was how quickly the resonances of The Dirty Secrets subsided, and what came to life on the steamy boardwalks of Venice Beach was in fact an entirely new direction of sound. The Dirty Secrets were no more, and McCleary, along with former band mate Cam Edwards, returned with a new aesthetic, that being upbeat electro-indie-rock that tingles with the salt of a mixture of sea air and sweat, and is as smooth as the milk from a freshly cracked coconut.

In order to produce and mix this - their debut release - Panama enlisted the skills of Eric Broucek (Holy Ghost, !!!) to help construct the futuristic trop-rock soundscape inherent to the EP.

The first single that you're most likely familiar with, 'Magic', was released back in March, and has enjoyed high rotation on both Triple J and community radio. 'Magic' is the perfect calling card for Panama, and is a great showcase of their signature sounds, with its upbeat tropic yacht rock vibe that brims with an 80s sensibility. 'Magic' is like a freshly made mojito for the ears, and it will always go down smooth.

The EP opens with the synth laden tones of 'Heartbeat'. The steady percussion and deft key work of McCleary drive the track with a steady, organic pulsating, not unlike the sounds that emanate from inside your chest.

Most recent single 'It's Not Over', a track recently added to regular rotation on Triple J is up next. 'It's Not Over' is perhaps the most melancholic of all the tracks on the EP, but this does not mean that it in any way is of lesser value. There is a haunting tribal drum circle adding an otherworldly quality to the construction of the track. 'It's Not Over' is perhaps the most understated yet intimate track on this album.

'One Piece' will take you on an intergalactic journey to the shore of a cosmic beach. There is an innate depth and resonance in this track that is underpinned by the throbbing bass and splashing of synth mixing with the more organic instrumentation. This is an evocative track that is reminiscent of a moonlight rave on that beach from the end of Contact.

'Stop The Fire' delves into the aural territory of like-minded artisans Friendly Fires, and pits the vocal dexterity of McCleary side by side with the dance floor energy permeating throughout the track.

'We Have Love' is a symbiotic song; it will slowly creep under your skin to fill you with an irresistible urge to express yourself through movement, whilst simultaneously elevating your mood. This is the perfect jam for any celebratory occasion this summer, and does well to create a positive aura amongst all those in its audible range.

Overall, this EP is an album worthy of repeated listens. Every time I go back to it, I discover something new to appreciate in every track. There is a subtle layer of texturing to each song, and the reward for your ears and mind is discovering these elements as you join Panama in partaking in the mood elevating, sonic voyage to the equatorial tropics.
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