EP: Panic Pocket – ‘Never Gonna Happen’

Two years ago BFFs Sophie Peacock and Natalie Healey picked up a synthesizer and electric guitar, and formed synth-pop duo Panic Pocket so that they could play First Timers 2017; a festival addressing the lack of diversity in the DIY music community, and inviting those who have never played in a band before to perform. If you looked at the definition of Do-It-Yourself, Panic Pocket should be cited as an example.

The talented, self-described “lo-fi electro-pop heroes” have since signed with Reckless Yes and have now released their debut four-track EP, Never Gonna Happen. The EP is proof of the power of friendship. Sophie and Natalie write hook-laden indie-pop, with lyrical tongue-in-cheek wit and melodic charm reminiscent of The Paris Sisters and The Ronettes, with the harmonious, often salty, vocal interplay between the two of them their greatest strength.

Are you helping me to do my fucking job? ask both Natalie and Sophie as they punch their way through opening track, ‘The Boss’. It’s difficult to comprehend that neither of them have ever played in a band prior to forming Panic Pocket; their enthusiasm is infectious as they demonise life encounters through relatable personal expression, and their own brand of humour. Shit bosses are the fucking worst, but a miserable sexual encounter in track 2, ‘You Have to Laugh’, has the band asking “what is the fucking point?”

Track 3, ‘Pizza In My Pants’, laughs at the societal expectations that women should settle down, get married, and have children. I’m not fussed with pro-creation, I prefer my Playstation the duo exclaim, in defence of the nagging undertones from family and friends. By the final track, Panic Pocket have already torn apart the expectations of others, so ‘OK Cupid’ hears the band looking at themselves with self-deprecating humour, wondering why they keep falling for those on social media: I feel like I know you, but I don’t know you… Will you be my girlfriend?

With Never Gonna Happen, Panic Pocket have crafted catchy synth-pop songs full of punk-rock attitude and an undeniable sense of fun. And, speaking of punk-rock, Sophie and Natalie are joined by members of fellow indie-pop alumni Wolf Girl on this EP; further fleshing out their earlier sound heard on previous recordings like ‘Don’t Get me Started’/’Front Teeth’, with both drums and bass guitar driving proceedings into glam punk territory at times.

Never Gonna Happen is a big fuck you to societal norms; an extended play that documents a band discovering their own path musically and personally. But don’t panic! Sophie and Natalie are definitely headed in the right direction.

Never Gonna Happen is out now via Reckless Yes. Catch Panic Pocket live at The Finsbury for us on 10th May, along with Crumbs, Charismatic Megafauna and Rookes – we can’t wait!

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

EP: Maria Kelly – ‘Notes To Self’

Notes to Self is the new EP from Maria Kelly, an Irish alt–folk artist now based in Berlin. It features four songs dealing with themes of holding on, hiding behind, letting go and how we must do all three in order to move on. All were inspired by a diary Maria kept documenting her feelings on relocating to a new country.

Opener, ‘Prelude’, sets the mood with Maria’s soft, melodic vocals, acoustic guitar and a lovely production which blends delicate synth sounds, enhancing the song and opening it up. It sums up the feelings of holding onto memories, as the song builds up and ends on the words “replay it”. ‘june’ is an intimate communication poignantly capturing feelings of restlessness – “does the city feel this crowded to you?” 

‘july’ is confessional, conveying the idea that we are ultimately in control of how we feel, and must take responsibility for what we choose to dwell on. Building to a lovely lyrical chorus – “… don’t fight it, hold on tight” – the pace and pitch of the music and voice blend perfectly into the powerful emotional ending. 


Closing track, ‘a
ugust’, is my favourite, showing Maria coming out the other side, and taking a new direction. More uptempo than the previous songs (“the taste of something new, something I can hold on to, something that isn’t you”), the electric guitar brings it to life juxtaposed with Maria’s gracefully soaring and cooing vocals; the sound of falling in love.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas, but I do want this EP. Overall, the production is superb, never interfering with the delicate beauty of Maria’s song craft. If ever you have felt isolated and vulnerable, these songs capture the mood beautifully, bringing you heartwarming introspection and the feeling that everything will be all right in the end.

notes to self is out on 7th December 2018 via Veta Records.

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker