Time, a New Single by Pannik
There’s something irresistible in the sticky drum machine and reverb-coated guitars that run throughout ‘time’, the second single from York singer-songwriter ‘Pannik’ (real name Joe Douglas) ahead of his debut EP ‘inner thoughts and reflections’, which is due out early next year. ‘time’ is easily the mellower of the two tracks so far, with its breezy rising lead guitar melodies and gently bumbling, prominent bass guitar. The latter should be no surprise to any of Douglas’s earliest fans; he is an outstanding bassist and has been snapped up by multiple bands in the York area, dipping his toes in a variety of genres from disco to math rock, trad jazz to modern pop. Whilst bass may be his forte, he’s also a very competent drummer and guitarist and is even taking up alto saxophone, seemingly in an attempt to reach a Jacob Collier level of hyper-musical, multi-instrumental wizardry; he’s a good part of the way there already!
With that in mind, it’s a wonder that both ‘time’ and previous single ‘be with you’ (undoubtedly a highlight of his modest but growing discography) sound so cohesive. You could excuse him for throwing in an unsolicited bass solo or jumping around genres just because he can, but instead the songs are firmly rooted in the world of dream pop and bedroom indie. ‘time’ is no thrills, but still serves up bags of atmosphere, aided by strong production skills that betray the fact that Pannik is still relatively new to releasing music publicly. For all it’s bright guitars and sparkling chorus effects, ‘time’ ends up feeling somewhat melancholy and nostalgic in the same way that midwest emo pioneers ‘American Football’ sounded when they released their indescribably beautiful debut back in 1999. The final falling leaves of autumn can almost be heard in the bittersweet shifts of harmony and soft pitter-patter of the electronic kick and snare drum. It’s the sort of thing that gains a cult following on Bandcamp and becomes an underground viral sensation overnight.
At the centre of it all, of course, is Pannik’s vocals, softly double-tracked and beautifully woven into the seams of the song itself with its own subtle concoction of reverb and effects. The lyrics are at times painfully raw. The words "Why don’t you lie to me? / Why don’t you hate me?” coincide with the emotional crux of the song. While the true depth of the words may only be known to Douglas himself, the feelings of jealousy and betrayal feel like a crucial part of ‘time’s DNA. With a backing like that, it would seem inappropriate for Douglas to sing about anything else.
“I think it was the music that came first then the lyrics when I wrote the song in February,” Douglas confirmed to me. “It’s the most dream pop-y track on the EP, and took big inspiration from bands like The Drums and Joy Division”. He was refreshingly earnest when I asked him what draws him to writing solo songs like these, alongside his various other musical endeavors. “I often ask myself that,” he says. “I think it’s because I have the urge to create something and perfect it. I’d certainly say I’m addicted to it.” Perfectionism can be found in spades in both the remarkably professional production on ‘time’ (Douglas records songs on his laptop in his bedroom, like most of his young indie contemporaries) and the tight-as-a-nut chord changes that make ‘be with you’ take off. This is not just a case of huge potential yet to be realised - the two new songs are polished and clean enough for full radio treatment, and are indeed already getting some deserved airtime from local radio stations and BBC Introducing. It’s easy to think that this could be the start of something big.
Despite the recent progress, Douglas’ goals have always remained modest, and he hardly seems like the sort of artist to get lured by the promises of Faustian major-record-label fame. “I suppose my goal with music is just to be financially stable. It would be great to make a living doing what I love most.” With ‘time’, it’s safe to say he’s one step closer.
Article written by Bertie Kirkwood. All relevant links for Pannik can be found HERE