At the ripe old age of 19, Adam Panic (né Kootman) has accumulated quite a discography, starting with his impressive one-man pop debut, The Vamp, in 2002. Since then, he's released two EPs, both produced by Phoenix engineer (and Breakup Society drummer) Bob Hoag. Hoag's back onboard for Panic's second full-length album, and the engineer assumes all sorts of instrumental duties on the record, too, from drums and piano to accordion and Mellotron. But Panic is still the pivotal force on all his '60s-flavored folk-pop songs. Despite claiming Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong as his primary influence, Panic's songs sound more akin to those of Elvis Costello, with some Beatles and Bob Dylan sprinkled over the top. The opening track, "Say I Tried," ties a jangly guitar groove to a jaunting pop beat and nostalgic keys, while "One Friend House" utilizes a whistling solo and four-part harmonies (especially impressive when you consider the album was recorded in analog). Even when Panic tries on a new genre, like the stripped-down strings of "The First Face I Saw" and the countrified garage-pop of "The Man in 42" (complete with barn-burnin' harmonica), the backbone is pure retro pop, and it is, indeed, Wonderful.
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