On his eleventh album, June Panic aims for and succeeds in making his most accomplished and conceptually intriguing album yet. Taking his lead from recent, angular indie folk and placing it in a wide-scope pop setting, this is probably how “Welcome to My Nightmare” would have sounded had Ween decided to record their version of it.
Both ambitious and ambiguous in scope, Baby’s Breadth is above all a personal and intense album, a private revealing of a man trying to grasp and to make sense of himself and his world. “It is about making and becoming babies,” he writes in the album. “Or either one without the other. Or both at the same time! Oh yeah and it’s about death too but not the sad kind.” Certainly far less avant-garde than labelmates Danielson Famile, June Panic shares with them a scrutinizing of the Christian faith in the same uncompromising manner, on a personal, self-reflective level.
The music both reflects and strengthens the complexity of the words. Moving from birth to death — or rebirth, as the album repeatedly points out that it is impossible to tell which is which — the music both evolves and repeats motifs and themes. And for all the outstanding melodies on here, beautiful and lilting pop songs carved in psychedelic folk mold, the unity and sense of wholeness running through the album makes it hard to single out any particular favorite tracks.
There are, however, certainly enough moments on here that should both move and charm you. June knows his way around a good chorus and delivers his songs in a passionate, energetic way. It is rare to encounter pop talents of such sheer impressive stature as this, blending the profound and the sincere with easy-access melodies and clever beauty, and June Panic once again proves why he is one of the finest performers of light, clever indie pop these days. Stunning.
Secretly Canadian Records: http://www.secretlycanadian.com