TOGETHER PANGEA: BULLS AND ROOSTERS
Together PANGEA is an LA-based, post-millennial garage-punk band that has been making music for about a decade. It all started with a teenage William Keegan (singer/songwriter/guitarist) writing songs in his bedroom. Later, with the help of Danny Bengston (bassist) and Erik Jimenez (drummer), his teenage creations began to come together as an early form of Together PANGEA.
Bulls and Roosters is their fourth full length album following The Phage, Badillac, and Living Dummy. This album seems to have plenty of themes that go along with being young and going through hard times; breaking up with someone, having a shitty job, being lonely, feeling lost, getting high, struggling with money, etc. This album can easily be relatable to so many young adults covering a plethora of common issues that most will go through in a lifetime.
The first track on the album, “Sippy Cup,” kicks the whole thing off with moderately powerful vocals and the tambourine that really make me think “Ramones,” - as most of their songs were really upbeat headbangers - even though this track isn’t quite so explosive. There is a very chill, daydream-ish element to it. The fuzzy, happy guitar really pulls that vibe together and that vibe continues onto the next song, “The Cold.”
Immediately I am taken to a playful 1960s’ beach setting by the opening instrumental. The lyrics are not as playful and happy, which kind of makes this track what it is. Sleeping “alone on a bed of debt,” and waking up “with a head of poison,” is definitely a huge contrast from the twangy, surf-rock whistle tune that plays along in the background.
“Kenmore Ave,” has quite a different sound; the guitar in this track gives an 80s pop vibe. I love how this album seemingly travels back and forth between time periods as you listen to it. “Money On It” grooves like a classic motown hit; like one of those songs from the 50s that literally everyone knows. This modern-motown number wouldn’t be as special without the tambourine and mini-guitar solos between verses.
The next track is “Better Find Out” and it’s one of the hardest rocking tracks on this album. This track, more than any other, has that fast-paced, gritty sound you would hear on an early 70s punk record - the kind that makes you bob your head really fast. Sadly, it only lasts for one minute and forty-three seconds, so that means it will earn plenty of replays.
“Peach Mirror,” on the other hand, starts off with a beautiful guitar melody, and shortly after the sound of peppy drums. This song has an REM-meets-shoegaze feel to it. The lyrics, “lost, lonely and high,” sung with a high harmony to accompany them really make for a 90s-esque track that is easily relatable to almost any young adult then or now. The simple, distorted guitar chords in the background of the song creates a dazed, underwater feeling - there really is no other way to describe what it’s like to be lost, lonely and high.
The next song, “Gold Moon,” is one of those staple tracks for any rock album. The “I’m gonna take a nice drive to nowhere in particular,” is an 80s classic rock theme that is pretty familiar. This is my least favorite track on the album because it felt somewhat out of place compared to all of the other songs on Bulls and Roosters; not because it’s a bad song (which it isn’t), it just sounded way too much like a bunch of songs I’ve heard before.
Following is “Friend of Nothing,” which has a somewhat long instrumental intro that takes us back to that punky, upbeat, yet happy sound Together PANGEA creates so well. The theme here seems to be going out on the weekend and going to see a movie; a lighthearted, fun subject that is thrown in there together with lyrics like, “break my face, steal my guitar, break my heart.”
Next is “Stare at the Sun,” which was another confusing track. The lyrics are a rollercoaster ride from lighthearted to downhearted, while the music is fast paced, sunshiney and synthy - the first time I have heard a synthy keyboard on the album. This song seems to have a number of themes: being in love, being stuck in a grind, things changing, etc. Basically the multitude of things every young adult goes through weekly.
Number 10 is “Southern Comfort.” At first listen, it kind of sounds like a song you would hear on a clothing commercial where a bunch of hot young people run crazily along the beach. It’s definitely a quick, yet energizing and youthful track.
Following that is the title track, “Bulls and Roosters.” This song gives off some ‘Nevermind’ era Nirvana vibes automatically. This track brings sounds of grunge and punk together. Some of the quirky, rebellious lyrics include mentions of ‘666’ which makes the song enjoyably devious.
“Is It Real?” is huge in contrast to most of the songs on this album. It’s a slower number, and a lot more mellow with chimey, echoing keyboards in the background every now and then. This song is the slowest one on the album, and rightfully so. Making this one the longest was a great idea; lyrics like, “too space aged,” and, “am I high?” definitely make this the most thought-provoking, ‘stoner track’ of the album.
Lastly is “Alison,” a groovy, bluesy, countryish number. What an interesting twist to wrap up the album. This is a happy love song that has a vintage feeling to it; it reminds me of those 50s sockhop movies. Storytelling songs are always a nice addition to any album.
This was my first time listening to Together PANGEA and I enjoyed a lot of these songs. After the first half of the album, things began to sound a bit repetitive, but overall, it was a fun album to listen to. I will most definitely be digging through the rest of their discography in the near future. I hear a great bit of talent in this band, and I think their best music is yet to come.
by MADELYN DOVER