Please Panic! – Rasmus Fynbo (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If pop music is built on infectious melodies and sonic addictiveness and rock music on solid structures and more deft musical choices, then there must be a sweet spot in the middle, a well-spring that gushes forth music with all these qualities. Well, there is, but it is hard to get to and it takes a smart musician to find their way there. Musicians such as Rasmus Fynbo.

But even that is only part of the story. It’s great to have the sound but you have to have the songs too. Panic Please! is Rasmus Fynbo showing us that not only has he found his way to that perfect sonic crossroads but that he has the songwriting chops to maximise its potential.

This seven-track EP sounds like a collection of singles. That might be a cliche in a world where most tracks are released as single, unaccompanied salvos and every pop smart cookie has an eye on the charts, on likes and attracting followers, but Please Panic! does feel like an old-school “best of,” a showcase and resume of his ability to pen cool but intelligent tunes.

Modern Stalker kicks things off, all slinky riffs and buoyant grooves, stabs and sweeps of violins and perky pop tones. But listen closer and you realise that the song is a darker look at the double-edged sword of fame and celebrity culture and the negative power of social media.

But, despite this initial, poignant and slightly bleak look at the modern world, the album generally heads down more positive paths. Get Up And Fight is as upbeat as its title suggests, a sonic call to arms and life-affirmation, a blast of pure positivity wrapped in some charming and easy rhythms and Hindsight is a reminder that life is short and opportunities are there to be grasped with both hands.

The title track blends some folk-rock washes with pop-rock assuredness, powerful and punchy and filled with beguiling musical motifs and cool synth riffs running through the middle ground, and the album rounds off with the epic strains of Dusk, a big and slightly brooding tune wrapped in the, now trademark, spiralling violin, operatic harmonies and wide-screen dynamics.

As I said at the start, the point where pop and rock meet is a rarified place to work. Veer too far one way and your music is in danger of getting buried by the throw-away pop competition, lean too far the other and you open yourself to cliche and over-earnestness. But Please Panic! is a sure-footed creation, dancing perfectly along that divide, both mature and with something to say yet accessible and able to give most mainstream music a run for its money. And that is a pretty rare thing to stumble across.

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