Ever wanted to hear Joy Division’s “Isolation” reinterpreted as grinding Latin disco-rock? Try “Illumination,” the opening song on Kick, the latest album by veteran Chilean punk band Panico. Recorded in Franz Ferdinand’s Glasgow studio for the seminal Scot-indie label Chemikal Underground, Kick is a consistently stunning hybrid of funky dance music and moody post-punk—like early Santana remixed by the members of ESG, or like Jellybean Benitez taking on U2’s Boy—and “Illumination” sets the tone, with terse, Bernard Sumner-style guitar-plucking and giddy yelps set over a clattering industrial beat. Panico has moved through dozens of varieties of alternative rock in their decade-plus of existence, generally favoring dreamy drone and distortion. Kick has a few songs in that mode, like “Algodon” and “Guadalupe,” which smother their poppy melodies in the dissonant squall of impending doom. But more often, Panico follows the lead of Kick’s most delirious song, “Reverberation Mambo,” a five-minute freak-out that’s all blistering guitar, pounding drums, guttural shouting, and the sound of monsters from ancient folk tales roaring through the heart of downtown.
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