Some people know that Panic Room from the UK came out of the ashes of Karnataka. After the band broke up Paul Davies (guitars), Jonathan Edwards (keyboards), Gavin John Griffiths (drums) and Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, keyboards & guitars) sort of became unemployed. After playing for such a long time in the same band, they became friends and felt that they could do something together one more time. With the addition of bass player Alun Vaughan the line-up of the new band was complete. As Panic Room, they released their first album Visionary Position in 2008. A strong debut album that was welcomed by everybody who liked the already mentioned Karnataka and bands such as Mostly Autumn, Breathing Space, Mermaid Kiss and The Reasoning. The album gave them also an award from the Classic Rock Society as ‘Best New band’. Two years later the band’s follow up album is already in the shops and has the title Satellite. The line-up has remained the same and music wise we can also discover no chances. All the music for this album was recorded ‘live’ in the studio with overdubs being added for harmonies and some additional layers to capture the power of musicians playing together. In the two years between the two releases the band must have written a lot of music. Besides the normal retail version (which is almost one hour long and has 11 tracks) the band also released a special edition of Satellite with a bonus 4 track disc and 20 pages art booklet, which is available exclusively from the band’s website. This disc got the title Little Satellite and has almost one half hour of extra music. Both discs contain the same kind of music which shows a band that has grown a lot. Most tracks have been written by the duo Edwards/Helder and can be labelled as poppy progressive rock songs. Not too complex but still worth listening to. Most of them are very mellow and not too aggressive sounding. Don’t expect a lot of long solo’s on the keyboards or electric guitars. Those who enjoy them can stop reading this review. Those who enjoy Mellotrons and the sound of other retro instruments can also stop reading and move on to the next review. But if you like the bands mentioned above here is certainly something which you might enjoy. Highlights on the first disc were for me Into The Fire and the title track. Those pieces were for me the most adventures songs in which the bands shows that they can be complex if they want to. Also the second disc has such a track. On Sandstorms can we enjoy very tasteful solo’s on the organ and electric guitar. A nice gimmick on this release is the sound of a real cat. It starts on the song I am A Cat which we can find on the first disc. Anne-Marie believes that she is a cat and sings miaow, miaow, miaow a couple of times. After the last title on the second disc, the already mentioned Sandstorms, we can again hear the same cat after a couple of seconds of silence. We hear a cat which is in a good mood after hearing a fine album made by a fine band. Not a ground breaking release or a real masterpiece but certainly worth listening. But I did tell you that already.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Melody Oakley)
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All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013