Pandatone: Happy Together
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Don the headphones to fully appreciate Pandatone's Happy Together and hear how elements which, in a casual listen, might seem randomly scattered—acoustic guitar, percussive accents, glockenspiel, melodica, banjo, clarinet, electric piano, field recordings—cohere into more meaningful song structures. Trevor Sias constructs his pieces from tiny edits that he carefully situates within a wide spatial expanse and then warms the distended mass by floating Julianna Barwick's warm vocals overtop. A loose and relaxed feel permeates the atmospheric and oft-textured material (tape hiss is so prominent it functions as an instrument) with Sias holding the tracks together with beats, though he'd be better off leaving the vocal duties in Barwick's more capable hands than tackling them himself (“Did It Happen,” “Because I Can”). The material's often wistful and reflective in spirit (“Together & Lonely” a particularly lovely example), suggesting that Happy Together would make a natural partner to any of The Boats' releases. How surprising, though, that, three years on from his last Pandatone debut, Lemons & Limes (on the now-defunct Neo Ouija label), Sias's follow-up clocks in at a mere half-hour.

June 2007