Hot Panda made an odd, but good, impression last year with How Come I’m Dead? (QRO review), but are a little less odd on follow-up Go Outside. Sticking mostly to ditties, though also including other elements, odd or not, Hot Panda are still an interesting, if not easy, band.
Things start out hard-rocking with opener "One In the Head, One In the Chest", but even that is a distorted ditty – and it’s the ditties that keep up Outside. There’s the ominous in the following "Language" and "Future Markets", sweet & sad sways "Littered Coins" and "Holidays", cheery & relaxed "Maybe Now?" and "Go Outside", plus some psych in "Winter Song" and "Boats", and even straight-up odd fellows in "See You All Around" and crazy closer "Negative Thinking Patterns". However, the group never really truly masters anything – the psych goes on too long (especially the unnecessary thirty-plus seconds of blank space at the end of penultimate "Boats"), while sweet sways are also simple.
It may never be easy to get a handle on the odd kids from Edmonton that make up Hot Panda. But it’s still interesting to try.
MP3 Stream: "Go Outside"