Rating:
8.5
X-Panda - Flight Of Fancy
30 September 2011


01. Intro
02. Black
03. Dickybirds
04. Flight Of Fancy
05. Siren
06. Journey Of A Dream
07. Keyboard Solo
08. Rhythm Department
09. Calm Waters
10. Crystal Gazing
11. Revelation


Our contemporary obsession with speed has claimed control over every aspect of human life; a staggering number of men and women rush to get as much done as possible, consuming crazy amounts of caffeine and gorging fast food so they don't waste much time on their most natural of needs. The consequence is a whole civilization suffering from ADD. The time that bred a generation of metalheads who listen to several releases from different bands per day also gave birth to bands who allow you to listen to several genres at once, such as these Estonian youngsters.

Flights Of Fancy is an almost entirely instrumental, 80-minute long release which entertained me greatly. X-Panda claims being "proudly influenced" by Porcupine Tree, Planet X and several guitar/piano virtuosos, but the metal/prog influence is just one of the elements being dominant here - the other two are jazz and symphonic music present in movie soundtracks. The symphonic elements are sometimes too obviously synthy, but this band's imagery is very youthful and exuberant, so a bit of cheese is actually an accessory contributing to their music. The band also treats us to various "sound effects" entering their cheerful, flowing guitar/keyboard melodies - Nightwish-esque choirs, punk-ish shouts, fiesta trumpets, electronic sounds and many more.

When vocals make an appearance, they steal the show - imagine a deep voice, as sombre as Daniel Gildenlöw in his most theatric of moods, interpreting ridiculously catchy melodies. While singing along to them, you'll sound like an occultist on Prozac - extra points if your absent-minded humming disturbs strangers standing next to you!

X-Panda's goal is to play music for dreamers and our inner children. Indeed, their music brought up a very personal memory of mine. An art teacher in my elementary school used to play us some very light jazz fusion (the calm sections of the album reminded me of it) to inspire the class as we made sketches. I've learned to like the music, but my repulsive drawings made me decide to turn away from that brand of art, which ultimately lead me to creative writing. So, yeah, try Flights Of Fancy, it digs up stuff from your subconscious!

And speaking of art, how awesome is that cover anyway?

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: X-Panda
Album: Flight Of Fancy


 



Written on 09.11.2011 by
Milena
A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.
More reviews by Milena ››



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Susan - 09.11.2011 at 05:39  
Well, this sounds remarkably intriguing. Nice review!
Milena - 09.11.2011 at 09:55  
Written by Susan on 09.11.2011 at 05:39

Well, this sounds remarkably intriguing. Nice review!

It is, it is the most fun I've had with an album for months. Sure, it's long, but it totally pays off.
BloodTears - 09.11.2011 at 11:00  
Porcupine Tree? I'd say this is for me.
3rdWorldFuckface - 09.11.2011 at 11:43  
Symphonic elements with prog/jazz... i shud check this out for sure.
Tod_Engel - 09.11.2011 at 12:18  
You can watch their video for the song Revelation here.
.mrt - 09.11.2011 at 12:29  
X-Panda rules! I love the fact that they are from my home country.
But I don't understand why the reviewer didn't mention their most prominent influence - Dream Theater.
Milena - 09.11.2011 at 12:49  
Written by .mrt on 09.11.2011 at 12:29

X-Panda rules! I love the fact that they are from my home country.
But I don't understand why the reviewer didn't mention their most prominent influence - Dream Theater.

I did mention 'several shredders', if you go to their site, you'll see they say they're influenced by Rudess and Petrucci as well as Liquid Tension Experiment... I think they did a better job at describing themselves than simply claiming to be inspired by DT guys. Subtle nuances, but very important
jhook - 09.11.2011 at 15:35  
Ohhhh im defiantly getting this
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.11.2011 at 18:04  
Totally just hit me that the band name is a play on "Expander"
Milena - 09.11.2011 at 18:07  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.11.2011 at 18:04

Totally just hit me that the band name is a play on "Expander"

I love word games but I have no clue what the word 'expander' means to you... so please elaborate, so I don't involve myself into a possible pervy discussion
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.11.2011 at 18:10  
Written by Milena on 09.11.2011 at 18:07

I love word games but I have no clue what the word 'expander' means to you... so please elaborate, so I don't involve myself into a possible pervy discussion

Ha, no I'm sure it doesn't mean anything, I was just praising myself for noticing such a simple pun. Perhaps it could be a reference to band's style "expanding" in different directions, or the lengthy nature of the record. Or maybe they couldn't think of a good name and chose X-Panda for purely random reasons.
Milena - 09.11.2011 at 18:40  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.11.2011 at 18:10

Ha, no I'm sure it doesn't mean anything, I was just praising myself for noticing such a simple pun. Perhaps it could be a reference to band's style "expanding" in different directions, or the lengthy nature of the record. Or maybe they couldn't think of a good name and chose X-Panda for purely random reasons.


I'll ask them via email and report my finds on this thread.
ErnilEnNaur - 09.11.2011 at 19:42  
"Revelation" is the song that won me over. These guys might actually be the best new band from Estonia since... forever.
MechanisT - 09.11.2011 at 19:50  
This one is absolutely right up my alley. I shall check them out asap.
Excellent review.
Troy Killjoy - 09.11.2011 at 20:07  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.11.2011 at 18:04
Totally just hit me that the band name is a play on "Expander"

No I think it has more to do with crossbreeding people and panda bears.
Ivor - 09.11.2011 at 22:20  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 09.11.2011 at 20:07

Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.11.2011 at 18:04
Totally just hit me that the band name is a play on "Expander"

No I think it has more to do with crossbreeding people and panda bears.

Or, you know, it's Monty Python style. "This panda is no more. This is an X-Panda." And so on.

On the topic, though. X-Panda is indeed excellent stuff. Definitely one of the better albums this year. And I'm not just saying because they are from Estonia and play prog/fusion. Although, both help. The only thing they could have done better is use more vocals. The instrumentals are good by themselves, but with vocals this stuff sounds even better.

Oh, and excellent review, Mora! Keep it coming.

I.
Milena - 09.11.2011 at 23:34  
Written by Ivor on 09.11.2011 at 22:20

On the topic, though. X-Panda is indeed excellent stuff. Definitely one of the better albums this year. And I'm not just saying because they are from Estonia and play prog/fusion. Although, both help. The only thing they could have done better is use more vocals. The instrumentals are good by themselves, but with vocals this stuff sounds even better.

Oh, and excellent review, Mora! Keep it coming.

I.

Oh, yes, I couldn't agree more, but the limited use of vocals grants them a lot of unique points, there's a lot of purely instrumental bands, and an 80% of metal bands with vocals like to put an instrumental track or two on the album - rare are the ones who do it the other way around

Well I plan a couple of guest reviews... but this front page business is fun, way more feedback I hope I'll get the opportunity to do more of it!
Troy Killjoy - 10.11.2011 at 01:03  
All this talk about the music and band name and no mention of this awesome cover art. Well, no mention of it aside from the end of your review.

Maybe people need a bigger version:

Milena - 10.11.2011 at 01:08  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 10.11.2011 at 01:03

All this talk about the music and band name and no mention of this awesome cover art. Well, no mention of it aside from the end of your review.

Maybe people need a bigger version:



Oh yes, the awesomeness that is this cover. I'd buy a beer for the dude who did this, though by the look of it I'd say he's more into sushi. That's a guy who DIDN'T draw stickmen on his art class for sure *ashamed*
Troy Killjoy - 10.11.2011 at 01:10  
Written by Milena on 10.11.2011 at 01:08
Oh yes, the awesomeness that is this cover.

I love the concept. Open a fish, reveal a sky. With birds. That eat fish. With SPACE as a background.
Milena - 10.11.2011 at 01:19  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 10.11.2011 at 01:10

I love the concept. Open a fish, reveal a sky. With birds. That eat fish. With SPACE as a background.

Space as a PLATTER. God, that would be the most awesome restaurant ever.
Susan - 10.11.2011 at 08:29  
Written by Milena on 10.11.2011 at 01:19

Written by Troy Killjoy on 10.11.2011 at 01:10

I love the concept. Open a fish, reveal a sky. With birds. That eat fish. With SPACE as a background.

Space as a PLATTER. God, that would be the most awesome restaurant ever.


Ha! WAY cool

And thanks Troy for posting a larger version of the cover. That is damn amazing/trippy/clever/wonderful.
X-Panda - 10.11.2011 at 08:52  
Members of X-Panda thank you all very muchfor your kind words!
The ones interested in what we are doing can join our facebook community: http://www.facebook.com/XPandaband
We will buy a beer for the cover art maker
Milena - 10.11.2011 at 10:29  
Written by X-Panda on 10.11.2011 at 08:52

We will buy a beer for the cover art maker

You do that. See if you can make him do the next one too
BaneConall - 10.01.2012 at 21:01  
Great album and awesome review. Thanks for leading me to this!
Milena - 10.01.2012 at 21:16  
Written by BaneConall on 10.01.2012 at 21:01

Great album and awesome review. Thanks for leading me to this!

No prob dude!

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