Artists can grow a lot or a little over the course of seven years, and in the case of Mary Broadcast, the former is definitely the case. In Broadcast’s progressive new EP Panic, she capitalizes on the foundations of her aesthetics ala Dizzy Venus and Svinx, adding a dose of postmodernity that a lot of her contemporaries have tried to experiment with – though few have had any real success. From the title track to the haunting “Bazar” and “Aver,” Panic is a concept record that begs for us to ask questions of ourselves if only to better understand the protagonist – and how she relates to us.
“Zone 4” and “Aver” are probably the most surreal songs on this EP, but they don’t overshadow the more formulaic structures of “Bastille” or the poppy “Sing It” by any means. Juxtaposition has a place here from the get-go, and although it’s primarily utilized to exploit contrast and the aesthetical contributions it can make to a lyrical narrative, this isn’t the only purpose of creating a multilayered look in Panic. Mary Broadcast has done quite a bit in her career so far, but this is perhaps the first instance of her challenging herself with a conceptualism most pop musicians wouldn’t be bold enough to try.
The fluid structure of the music isn’t sourced from the lyrical strengths alone, but instead from the moodiness of Broadcast herself, who seems quite eager to establish a general theme as we move from one song to the next. There’s never a dull moment in Panic in which we feel like we’re listening to some filler over something with a larger contribution to make to the record’s underlying story, which is not something that I can say about the majority of pop releases landing on store shelves this winter.
At no point does Mary Broadcast allow for her delivery to become passive, nor does her rhythm ever sound so engrained in the instrumental construct of a song like “Bazar” that she isn’t able to separate her verses from the music. Contrarily, even when she’s slowing down she sounds like her heart is pumping blood as fiercely as it does in the rocking “Bastille,” and this fact on its own stands out as one of the many reasons why fans of versatile songcraft would be wise to take a look at Panic a lot sooner than later.
Both profoundly personal and yet removed from the insulated poeticisms that a lot of her peers have taken to employing lately, Mary Broadcast’s Panic is another masterpiece to add to her discography for sure. Its contents are hard to get out of your head once you’ve been exposed to them for the first time, and not because of a mundane hook reworked into six different settings just for the purpose of generating streams. Mary Broadcast is the real article, and I think this is going to be the record to really draw more of the international spotlight towards her music and what she stands for.