Pan’s “These Are The Things I Love and I Want to Share Them With You”

TBI’s Hannah Cook gives us her thoughts on Pan’s newest album

Hannah Cook

out of 10

These Are The Things I Love and I Want to Share Them With You
March 2012

Creating music based solely around instrumentation can be a daunting undertaking. Few bands have attempted it, and even fewer have succeeded. It takes a certain ability to tell a story without words. After all, communication by word of mouth is what connects people and without it, minds may wander or stifle. Either way, you’ve lost them.

Columbia, South Carolina’s Pan is a band brave enough to tackle instrumental music with their new release These are the Things I love and I Want to Share Them With You. With that title name, the listener automatically feels bound to an album that must be full of personal manifestations. These instruments must really speak for themselves, they must tell us something.

But by the end, too many moments on the album fall short, leaving the listener unfocused and unaltered.

The album’s opener, “Byoko,” had me at hello. Though it’s been done a hundred times before, you can’t really go wrong with an atmospheric introduction that maintains itself but still somehow expands throughout.

But it’s when the second track, “The Rhode Island Lucky Few,” comes in that halts any sort of progression that an album should have in its beginning. The speedy guitar work layered within itself turns messy, and if that’s supposed to be any sort of voice, I’m simply hearing a searing wail. “Joe Fraizer” carries the same wild demeanor that’s frankly more abrasive than anything.

By no means, however, is the album all bad. Pan has been known to sound reminiscent of Explosions in the sky, and such is not only a proper comparison, but one that carries worth. That being said, though, the band is at its best when it’s sounding like someone else, discounting the integrity of each song.

Take basically the last three-fourths of the album. In good light, Pan strays from its cymbal-heavy, eighth-note redundancy approach of music and gears more towards ethereal stylings.

The 31-second “Slow/Steady” marks the necessary transition and drones into “John From New York,” the first lyrical song (one of two, along with “Mom and Me Verse You and Dad”), though ever so subtly in comparison to the ample percussion and light-hearted guitar riffs.

“The Things They Can’t Take Away From Us” may just be the gem of the album. If loud enough, it could evoke the compelling emotion needed to truly get the song. And “Leave Your Body” holds the same kind of conduct, as it takes a gradual flight until finally reaching its breaking point.

These are the Things I Love is an album that cannot be universally appreciated. It has a tendency to be more about sounds rather than composure and meaning. When they hit the spot, it’s because they are so akin to Explosions in the Sky (one of the most adored instrumental bands in the post-rock scene).

That is not to say Pan failed with the album, as certain junctures do hit home and tell some sort of story. The story just needs to feel more complete.