I’m still trying to figure out the color of the Panthers on the Roof LP. Purple? Purple-orange blur? Neon brown? I feel like I’m going colorblind the longer it takes to discern. It’s a lot like listening to E.T. Habit in general. Every song is a whole new project, nothing to do with its predecessor whatsoever. It was relatively easy to spit out an evaluation of their debut 7-inch because there’s only so much room there.
How do I even review this moody smorgasbord of squawking’ rock-rock-rock? Track-by-track always seems to work in this situation, and yet … that’s just not my style lately. I’ll try and make sense of this album as a living, breathing entity as best I can but it’s up to the godz to tell you how to proceed.
E.T. Habit have this way of connecting the passages of their songs together that defies all logic and taste. I suppose if I were to isolate one trait of theirs that astounds me the most, that is it. “Private Seas” provides a nice specimen to poke at, as it transitions from slamming garage ferocity to winding-staircase, video-game soundtrack verses over and over again before the listener even knows what it happening. First it’s Hell Shovel, then it’s Whirlwind Heat, then it’s Ty Segall-lite (and yet not really), all before you’ve taken your coat off and gotten comfortable with the song.
There are, most definitely, several instances wherein I find myself wishing that the next sequence would arrive so it could clear out the clutter. And it doesn’t always get there soon enough, as with “Keep IT Snake.” Fuck fellers, you done lost me. How is it possible that the dynamic band that rocks the cheesewhiz so shit-hard on “Venomous Color” is responsible for “Snake”? Seems impossible. Seems ridiculous. Seems made-up. (I might have the track order messed up; forgive me.)
I prefer to nudge my nose into their creepier crevices (I came up with the previous line watching my wife almost gluttonously nose her way into her pillow) and take a hard powder-sniff. It’s like they’re covering “Danger” by Mötley Crüe before dissolving in a vat of acid archives. Love the mystique behind several of the guitarpeggio-driven passages, smacking of Drive Like Jehu and Duster while launching off in a completely different direction.
And how remarkable is “Cut Like a Jaguar”? It’s almost the perfect E.T. Habit composition, focused, sincere and magnetic as a starlet’s shattered smile. Guitars bend but never break, night-drive-in-a-Cadillac drum shuffles ripple through your hair and … FUCK, every so often the singer SHRIEKS and the drums crash and clang and you almost wonder what a record full of classic-rock wax-stax like this would sound like.
That query may be answered another day. Until then, Panthers on the Roof is a majestic way to grow with a band that, if its material thus far is any indication, will sprout right out of its cage a few times a year or so. Three-hundred copies is never enough so make sure you check on this one sooner than …