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Silver Sound Sessions

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Album Review

Alchemy, numerology, Jungian theory, Christianity: It all figures in somehow. But you needn't know much about these subjects to thoroughly enjoy this mini-album from June Panic. Culled from recordings made prior to Horror Vacui, the songs on Silver Sound Sessions were originally deemed unsatisfactory in terms of fidelity, and, as a result, all but one was scrapped and forgotten ("The Silver Sound" did turn up on Horror Vacui, and the same version makes an encore appearance here). Nearly two years later, the Silver Sound tapes were resurrected as Panic, and friends remixed the old material, added some tracks, and recorded one completely new song, "(Bells) Ring Out the News." Listening to this collection, it's difficult to detect the supposed sonic foul-ups that sent the sessions to limbo. It might not have achieved the ideal Panic had in mind of making music that "sounded like silver," but from a sheer fidelity standpoint, these songs sound just as good as Horror Vacui. And Panic's songwriting is in fine form too: These are no mere throwaways. Songs like "Graveyard Crown" and "Honey Sacrifice" rank among some of Panic's best work: lyrically playful and austere at the same time, and with almost jazzy arrangements. There's even a Love cover thrown in. By comparison to Panic's earlier albums, this collection is breezy and easy-to-digest. There's no sign of any jagged noise experiments, and Panic's Dylanesque voice is more restrained than ever before, though it retains all of its nasally distinctiveness. And despite the heady subject mater, these high-minded folk-pop songs skirt pretentiousness and invite singing along.


Born: United States

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

June Panic is a singer-songwriter and sonic experimenter from Fargo, North Dakota. Bob Dylan, Marc Bolan, and Skip Spence all come to mind when listening to Panic: Dylan because he begins with traditional American music forms and then twists them to fit his own idiosyncratic vision, often to nearly unrecognizable extremes; Bolan for his penchant for pomp and outrageous-even ridiculous- imagery; and Spence, not simply because he plays every instrument on his albums, but because of a neurotic claustrophobia...
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Silver Sound Sessions, June Panic
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