Step-Panther have been bubbling on the RSTB periphery for some time, first popping up on that indispensable Lenny Kaye-curated Aussie Nuggets compilation and then with a smattering of their own EPs and debut. However, its their latest, Strange But Nice, that sees them finally tap into the pop potential that's been humming below the surface. The album was produced by Tom Iansek of Big Scary, whose own work met tons of acclaim last year both home and abroad, and his pop instincts seem to have unlocked the kind of offbeat indie that bristles with hooks throughout songs about Game of Thrones malaise, horror-schlock romance and perplexing odes to 60's comic staple Namor. Its hard not to smile during their slacker sway choruses, the oversized guitar breaks and jangle tug-o-wars or those croak-throated vocals that seem imperfectly perfect. Took 'em a few to hit me right but this one is landing pretty cleanly on the must play list for around here.
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