Gold Panda is in that newfound realm of electronic music that’s hard to define. Taking cues from Caribou and Four Tet but blending with elements of world and acoustic music, Lucky Shiner is catapulted into the company of the aforementioned with its meticulously crafted songs.
The song titles suggest a transformative journey, beginning with the looping nasal beats in You. The emotional discovery, the chartering of new territory – physically or emotionally, is dealt within the nuances of each track. Parents is instantly different with its conversational opener leading into acoustic fare with screeching fingers on fretboards. Addressing the absence of percussion is the xylophonic march of Same Dream China, hopefully pattering along before being joined by snare. Snow & Taxis introduces snippets of sampled strings, short but integral to the record’s transformative tale, preparing for the Nintendo-esque bleats of Before We Talked.
The real highlight comes in I’m With You But I’m Lonely, a revelatory moment for the protagonist of this synthesised story. Softly ascending from faint keyboard notes as a cacophony of persistent beats begin to bear down, it’s a hidden gem that gathers pace and takes instrumentation in tow.
A warped sitar lends a musical breather on India Lately, changing the record’s tone from strictly electronic and tying into earlier songs. The sequence comes to an end with You II, with a clear female voice elongating notes in a borderline Moby circa Play fashion. Whether this ‘You’ is a new entity or rediscovery of the old is to the listener’s discretion. In thus lies the beauty of Lucky Shiner.