RELEASE YEAR: 2000
BEST TRACKS: “D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L,” “Laputa” and “Stabilisers For Big Boys”
Panchiko’s story began, or should I say resumed, during the Summer of 2016 when an anonymous 4chan user uploaded a couple of tracks from their demo “D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L” to the internet. The tracks uploaded were heavily wracked with disc rot but that did not stop listeners from realizing their potential. As the number of listeners grew, so did their curiosity, which eventually lead to an internet-wide wild-goose chase for the demo’s creators.
It didn’t take long for Panchiko’s listeners to track down one of the original band members, Owain (he chooses to keep his last name private), via Facebook. According to an interview with the band published on Bandcamp, they were extremely surprised when they were contacted, as only 30 copies were ever pressed.
Since the band’s re-discovery, the four original members, Owain, Andy, Shaun and John, have come together to re-record “D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L” which they did in 2020. In addition to this, the band published around twenty of their unreleased tracks.
The first track on the album shares its name with the album title: “D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L.” It is Panchiko’s most listened to song on Spotify which it is absolutely deserving of. The track is lush, dreamy and slightly electronic, making it heavenly to listen to.
“Laputa,” my personal favorite song on the album, comes in as their second most listened to track. Its lyrics and overall sound were heavily inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s 1986 film “Castle in the Sky.” In the film, the main characters are on a mission to reach Laputa, a far-off forgotten land in the sky that can only be accessed by someone with native blood. The lyrics “Laputa was all we knew, and/ How we got there, how we flew up/ Heaven’s doors are miles away/ ‘Cause you’re stuck to the ground, you have to stay” describe the characters’ struggles throughout the film.
“Stabilisers For Big Boys” is probably their most abrasive track on the album. However, it’s still fits in with the overall shoegaze dreamscape that the album fabricates. It’s energetic and upbeat unlike the rest of the album, which tends to be more somber.
Overall, “D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L” by Panchiko is a perfect encapsulation of the late ’90s/early 2000s shoegaze sound and every second of it is worth the listen.