About a decade ago there was an era of music that brought about a new spin of female vocals. Prior to this, non-abrasive female vocals were mainly reserved for pop or Lilith Fair, rarely did they venture into the realm of absolute rock. It seemed soft vocals and shredding guitar just didn’t mix. With what we were given, it isn’t entirely too hard to see why. The right formula never really stuck and the style faded like Courtney Love’s fame.
Chicago’s own Panther Style is aiming to change that thought. Al Rodis, Jeanne McClure, Dan Lutger, and Melissa Koehl have released ¡Emergencia!. The tight quartet brings forth an indie-rock album I dare you to try to hate. There is simply too much to love about the album. This isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill rock album. Sure it is reminiscent of Lush’s vocals or even fellow Windy City Veruca Salt’s style, but those references would only scratch the surface. Heavy drum variances tied tightly to the ever present guitar licks drive the rock, while the annunciated vocals spin the Panther into an identifiable style. The dynamic intro of “Rhino” transitions into slipping riffs which begin the momentum carried throughout. The bass and guitar melt into one cohesive mass wrapping themselves around the mood setting drum. They will keep you on your toes. Just when you start to settle into the album, thinking you’ve found their niche, “The Instrumental” delivers primal screams, shrieking “I’m Tired,” calling your attention to their true abilities. They are a band who knows their boundaries and reaches to the edge consistently.
The Panther Style sound is one that can’t be held down or held back. The purity of their rock is something that can’t be missed. ¡Emergencia! is a wolf in Little Red Riding Hood’s clothing, it’s cute on surface but it’ll knock you on your ass once you get close. The guitar solos are shredding, the vocals are distinctive, and the sound is addicting. There you’ve been warned.
While not entirely genre resurrecting, ¡Emergencia! definitely holds its own. It’s a head turning, attention grabbing, rock album that knows how to bring it. Before this, I had no idea what style is Panther Style. After this, I know it’s a style to set a trend of authentic nonabrasive rock.