For what is ultimately yet another fuzzy garage band, there’s all manner of confusion surrounding Hanoi Janes. They’re largely a single man for one thing, not from a sunny campus in the States but from Dresden, Germany. They (or he) play what at first seems like now-yawn-some 60’s pop fed into a four-track to make ‘Year of Panic’. But Hanoi Janes is clearly more inspired by The Beach Boys, Spector and the experimental, laboratory pop of the 60’s than many others. So when ‘Year of Panic’s title track punctuates restless jangles with a Joe Meek/Clangers squeals, and dizzy Stylophone riffs snake throughout ‘Julia’, it leap away from sounding as predictable as it otherwise would be. These tricks – along with sunny xylophones on songs like ‘Our Lives’ – are fleeting moments but pop up just enough to make this lo-fi record more than average.

By Sam Little

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