Chicago-based shoegaze/dream-pop outfit Panda Riot introduces their new album, Extra Cosmic, brimming with roiling guitars and vaporous vocals.

Made up of Rebecca Scott (vocals, keyboards), Brian Cook (guitar), Brian Hilderbrand (drums), and Cory Osborne (bass), Panda Riot began life in Philadelphia at a bar, where Brain was debuting a short film. After releasing their first album, She Dares All Things, they moved to Chicago, where they released their second album, Northern Automatic Music, followed by their third, Infinity Maps.

Comprising a baker’s dozen of tracks, highlights on Extra Cosmic include the title track, which opens on luminous, almost tinny tones, followed by moussing up to thick shoegaze textures topped by Rebecca’s dreamy voice, emanating timbres at once velvety yet delicate.

“I need to take it but I know it’s late / You’ve gotta say it when you’re alone with me / Breaking when you think that you want to hold / But if you can’t figure out the thing then you’ve gotta let go.”

“E.S.P.” is a song about trying to connect with another person, but always somehow missing. According to the band:

“Every time you think you’ve got it, you realize you’re still passing one another by and not quite syncing up. You’re trying to read each other’s minds, but you just can’t quite make the connection. Sonically, the music came about through Brian’s experimentation during the pandemic with building more and more complex guitar pedals. This song was written just as he was finishing up a clone of a Lovetone Ringstinger. With the fresh perspective of the pedal, the song came out instantly.”

The intro to “1000%” features a short stint of grinding, discordant guitars atop a ragged drum shuffle, and then expands to heavy, murky layers of shoegaze humming with blurry guitars pushed by a plump bassline. Traveling amidst the misty harmonics, Rebecca’s vocals imbue the lyrics with wistful tones.

Rife with shimmering dream-pop flavors, “Echelon” rides rumbling, syncopated percussion as Rebecca’s deliciously gossamer voice infuses the tune with faraway savors. A personal favorite because of its dual layers of deep, thrumming harmonics juxtaposed against glittering accents, “CMYK” underscores its delicious, ethereal vocals of Rebecca.

Sans a lackluster track, Extra Cosmic delivers dense washes of opaque guitars crowned by the beautiful, diaphanous voice of Rebecca Scott.

Panda Riot

Extra Cosmic Track Listing:

1. Extra Cosmic
2. Technicolor
3. S.P.
4. Telepathic Landscapes
5. 1000%
6. Glitterati
7. Ultramarine
8. Remote Viewing
9. Echelon
10. Future Shock
11. CMYK
12. Royal Blue Skies
13. Magic Only

Run Time: 40:17
Release Date: June 10, 2022
Record Label: Panda Riot