Pardoner – Came Down Different

The third LP from Pardoner is a whirlwind of riffs and heavy moods plastered under a base of great melodies and hooks. Came Down Different is loud and frenetic. An album guided by a hardcore/punk attitude while at the same time having great listenabilty with pretty melodic choices. Through its twelve tracks the band reaches down different paths and avenues, from creating artful noise like Sonic Youth to laying back on the gritty rhythms like Dinosaur  Jr, and at its peak intensity blasting through the speakers like Turnstile. The dynamism displayed here makes it feel like a live album that can be played from either a full stadium or a mate’s sweaty basement. Raw while never lacking in substance.

“Donna Said” starts things out with a jangly, almost-slacker pop vibe with sharply toothed guitars and heavy breakdowns. Following track “I Wanna Get High To The Music” feels like a rising fever that abruptly burns down in a fleeting one minute trance. “Spike” comes in third with a rant towards workplace dysfunction that veers into workplace abuse: “They want twice the results in half of the time / It’s a sick world / no cure in sight”, before ending in an explosive and violent outburst. As you glide through the album, expectations go out of the window, yet isn’t merely a cacophony of loud, ferocious rock. There’s a through-line of melancholy that can be discerned upon closer inspection. While the band presents a strong and furious front there’s uncertainty and doubt laced in the lyrics, suggesting that our narrator isn’t as self-assured. This is quite apparent in centerpiece “Lucky Day”, which poses itself as a soft ballad with gorgeous riffs, only to erupt with a burst of noise and rage. “I WORK / and YOU EAT!”, vocalist Max Freeland howls, coming off as a jolt of energy from what seemed like a dreamy number.

Come Down Different is a menagerie of indie rock. It may look like an assortment of whatever takes fancy at first, but with multiple spins it unravels into an intricate web. One that doesn’t lack in depth and entertainment value. 

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