On January 29, 2016, the French-Canadian trio known as Pandaléon released their third record, Atone. Recorded in an abandoned elementary school in rural Ontario, the album is characterized by its ambiance and its tightly cohesive structure. Although I can’t say I’m familiar with the band’s previous work, this record has certainly put them on my radar for the future. While I feel there is space for Pandaléon to grow, Atone does quite a bit to set it apart from a standard indie rock album.
The tone of Atone is one of slow, deep drama. The music is exceptionally patient, never rushing or using speed to achieve power. Instead, Pandaléon gives the listener time to fully immerse themselves in each beat and chord change. The entire album is soaked in reverb and distortion, creating a distant darkness that is at the same time inviting and foreboding. Without a doubt, the ambient quality of Atone is what sets it apart as a record.
Although the album achieves its goal of being a kind of dreamscape, there are times when I think it could use a little more to really pull me in. With production that is slightly more crisp, and some additional subtle layering, I feel that Atone could reach an entirely new level, and that is why I feel that Pandaléon can still mature and develop their characteristic sound. Atone is an excellent foundation for a band developing its own sound, and I am excited to see where they take it in the future.
Pandaléon strikes me as the type of band that could put on a rather engrossing live performance. Fortunately, they are playing a show in the perfect atmosphere this Saturday at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. Don’t miss it!