Pink Panther (Split / Pursuit)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., April 8, 2016
A funny thing happened on the way to Casual Strangers' follow-up to its eponymous 2014 debut. Intending to record another studio LP, the Boxing Lesson offshoot instead followed its instincts, Paul Waclawsky, Jaylinn Davidson, Katey Gunn, and Jake Mitchell turning to wordless improvisational soundscapes recorded at home. Armed with an impressive collection of analog synths, the band journeys to a distant musical planet. The guitar-driven "Holocene Dream" indicates takeoff, "Cosmic Spaghetti" the flight, and "Brinca! Brinca!" the landing. Then it's time to explore this new world. Traversing the barren landscapes of "Cosmic Jokers," our intrepid locals hit alien civilization via the title track. "Future Passed" follows our travelers back to their ship, and "Little Lids" finds them once more in the void, contemplating all they've seen. Though a sidestep from the whimsical psych-pop of the debut, Pink Panther is even stronger, an organic trip into the cosmic ether.