Gold Panda: Lucky Shiner

Gold Panda: Lucky Shiner

B-

Gold Panda

Album: Lucky Shiner
Label: Ghostly International

It’s a savvy, increasingly common model for emerging electronic artists: Instead of hyping self-written music, take songs people already like, give them a creative remix, and hope fans of the originals check out the results. It’s worked for Gold Panda, who, after high-profile remixes of Bloc Party, Health, and others, found a market for a solo full-length. The biggest success of Lucky Shiner, however, is revealing its maker as much more than just a guy who twists knobs during other bands’ music; these subtly eccentric songs drift off the dance floor in a Pollock-style swirl of emotion. Marked by warmly playful tracks that hiccup and throb over glitched, spiraling beats, the album glows with color and innocence, like a kid bathed in a television aura while playing muted videogames at night. The production is technically flawless, and—with clashing drums, strings, chimes, and bells, 808s, vibraphone, acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, bass, and atmospheric synths—there are plenty of welcome forays away from the laptop. But although the record is thoughtful, it isn’t particularly memorable. A few tracks (including the flickering, catchy “You,” softly shimmering “Snow & Taxis,” and patiently intense “Same Dream China”) hold the attention, but most take a long time to go nowhere. The album feels like a nil-nil tie in soccer: lots of interesting parts, but ultimately lacking payoff.

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