If you came across the new Panji & the Buffalo EP without a proper introduction, you’d be forgiven for thinking that You Slut! was back at it. And you’d only be a quarter right. Former drummer of the now-defunct math rock darlings, Daz Cook (now multi-instrumentalist Daz Cook) has resurrected a sound we so sorely missed, with some pleasant surprises.
On display is a familiar fast and loose, try-not-to-do-anything-more-than-twice mentality, but where You Slut! tracks always felt themselves pulling in different directions as a symptom of collaborative process, Rare Moves displays a more cohesive and singular focus. The tone is still erratic for sure, but in ways that always come across as thematically linked.
While many of the tones will feel as familiar as the songwriting, there seems to have been a natural growth of the melodies that Daz is interested in exploring. One of my favorite moments of the EP is indicative of this; on the track ‘Bubblun,’ where the mode shifts early on to adopt a wistful, nostalgic flavor, like a riff you might hear out of The Pillows circa 2000. Curiously, a new wrinkle comes in the form of trade-offs between completely acoustic tracks that act as a short reprieve between sub-three minute bursts of angular riffs and abrupt rhythmic changes. Looking back, it’s interesting to note that exactly half of the tracks are mainly acoustic compositions.
If there’s one criticism to be had, it’s that Rare Moves ends just as it gets going. The tracks speed by and the whole EP clocks in at a breezy 24 minutes and change, which is not out of step if you’re familiar with You Slut!’s short runtimes. But for whatever reason, this feels even more brief. Maybe because of it’s added variety and greater depth, but it almost yearns to keep going by the time track 8 comes to a close.
In that way, Rare Moves is like an old friend who’s just popped in to say hello. You haven’t seen them in a while, and you sense that the years have changed them in some vague but indelible way, but for the brief time they’re around, it’s like old times. And of course, they’re gone before you know it.