Hot Panda: How Come I’m Dead?

Hot Panda: How Come I’m Dead?
I got excited when researching Hot Panda to write this review because the band is fronted by Chris Connelly. At first, I thought “Chris Connelly? Former MTV News anchor?” but unfortunately, that is a different Chris Connelly. Then I though, “Chris Connelly? The Scottish musician from Revolting Cocks?” but that’s not right because Hot Panda is from Canada. Then I thought “Surely it must be Chris Connelly the actor” but unfortunately he died in 1988. So then I thought “how many fucking Chris Connelly’s are there in this world?” The answer is apparently four, the three I mentioned and the one that front’s Edmonton, Canada’s Hot Panda.
I guess fronting Hot Panda makes him pretty famous; their debut album, Volcano…Bloody Volcano debuted at #1 in !earshot and #21 in CMJ. How Come I’m Dead? is the band’s second record. The album was recorded during the height of the frenzy of the Winter Olympics in Canada. For the most part, the album was recorded live in the studio to give the album a spontaneous feel. The truth is if the band was going for a spontaneous feel, they were successful. Tracks like “Fuck Shit Up/Hell Hey Hex” feel very improvisational and have a sloppy Pavement-meets-The Fall vibe to them.
But there is another whole crop of songs on the record like “Poor Little Ambulance” that have this avant-garde Roxy Music-feel to them. These songs I find much less successful; they are essentially tuneless and really defy you to like them.
With a pretty even split of these two types of tracks on the record, How Come I’m Dead? ends up feeling mediocre to me. The album has some strong songs on it but not nearly enough to warrant an overly positive rating, I’m afraid.
Rating: 4.1/10
MP3: Hot Panda “Mindlessnesslessness”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!

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