Thick and thumpy with instrumental diversity, “A Good of Good Health” yet retains its simple drive and almost poignant melodic and lyrical synergy. Not that I’m at all sure what front man John Lennox is singing about here (and he doesn’t even start until 0:45). We hear attractive phrases, at once comfy and mysterious; they unfold with the music with an almost magical pleasure, flaunting an elusive rhyme scheme, and defying any straightforward comprehension. Lennox sings with a casual sort of intensity, high-pitched, and he lets the ends of his words fade, as if he’s turning his face repeatedly from the microphone.
And even in a song without narrative structure, this chorus still buzzes with delightful incongruity (1:36):
A week of good health
Pin your hair back
Get some new clothes for yourself
Get ‘em black on black
Don’t miss Lennox’s phrasing here, particularly in the third line, which he voices in a talking rather than a singing rhythm, and it’s more wonderful than I can describe. So let’s get back to the music itself, which I have not meant to neglect. Panoramic & True are an eight-piece band, from Chicago, and they recorded this new album, Wonderlust, on eight-track analog tape, live. Listen and I’ll think you’ll sense the three-dimensionality of the sound, the honest layering and physical interaction of instruments, in the chuggy ambiance. I’m particularly tickled by how the strings work so resolutely in the background; we hear them emerge, shyly, only a few times, and each time receding quickly back into the well-ordered commotion. Fun stuff, and chewy too.
Wonderlust is the second Panoramic & True album, released in July on Raymond Roussel Records. You can listen to it and buy it via Bandcamp.