Neon Circus - Don't Get Panicked

by Katie Butler Rating:7.5 Release Date:2010-08-23

After a rather extensive effort to distinguish the musical genre of Neon Circus, it can only be concluded that this talented and rather diverse trio from Leicester refuse to be pigeonholed. Debut album Don't Get Panicked sweeps seamlessly between chilled electronica, psychedelic funk, seductive bass-lines and ambient synthesisers: at a neat 14 tracks long, it encapsulates more musical variety than most bands achieve in a lifetime.

One thing's for sure however, Neon Circus certainly wear their influences on their sleeve: tracks such as 'The Scene' and '5 Feet Down' bare more than a passing resemblance to early LCD Soundsystem, a band who were quoted as one of their biggest influences. Similarly, there's a nice chunk of Zero 7 harmonic melodies in there and a good few electro bass-lines which sound remarkably like Digitalizm samples.

Nevertheless, this shouldn't distract from the sheer quality of the album. Admittedly, Don't Get Panicked isn't exactly innovative, but there are a fair few gems in there. As the album gets into full swing, tracks such as 'Carry the Weight' demonstrate Neon Circus' true and unarguable musical ability. The dedicated guitar riffs, drawling bass and sensual saxaphone, infuse together to create some wonderful chilled house-funk, which ends, rather surprisingly, with a recital about a lesbian fantasy. With the likes of 'Dirty Hall Ways' and 'Creeper', which wouldn't sound out of place on a Twilight saga soundtrack, the album takes an unforeseen swerve away from 'imitation' tracks and instead catapults forward into a realm of instrumentals laced with ambiguous story-telling monologues; hardly club classics but an interesting listen nonetheless.

It's a shame that a few tracks later, Neon Circus slip back into old habits. 'Remember' sounds like the b-side to a Zero 7 track and 'Soul to the Left' is more Sigur Ros than psychedelic electro. The album ends on a high, however. Title track 'Don't Get Panicked (Part 2)' is a cool infusion of synths, double tracked vocals and underneath, a rather profound life-affirming message. All in all, Don't Get Panicked may not be exactly revolutionary but it's a damn good first attempt. If anything, it's a clear demonstration of the trio's ability to create well produced, radio friendly tracks. It's a shame a good chunk are a bit too loyal to the band's influences, but Neon Circus are only just finding their feet and for that, we'll cut them some slack.

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