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rangers - Pan Am Stories
After clocking up huge plaudits from Fact Magazine, The Wire, SImon Reynolds and Altered Zones for their 'Suburban Tours' release, Rangers arrives on Not Not Fun with his 2nd album proper, 'Pan Am Stories'. The mind-child of one Joe Knight, Rangers deal in especially evocative soft-psych charms which share a clear love of '80s MOR culture with James Ferraro and Ducktails. It's reflective of the music most Americans (we'd imagine) have absorbed by some kind of as-yet-unidentified radiopathic osmosis; the soul-absorption of thousands of criss-crossing radio transmissions beaming 24 hour soft rock and cable stations emitting unending re-runs of mood-manipulating TV theme music and vibes. But most crucially Joe's music has filtered only those most warbly, hooky parts and sifted out the cloying earnestness of so much coffee table Americana, yet retained its sun-smacked and soulful intentions. And it's the sly, wry glaze of electronics and occasional overblown noise which gets warped in transmission that does it for us, an empathic hypnagogic affect which translates to European tastes very well. If there's anything to distinguish this album from the last, there's perhaps a more blown-out grunginess, not in terms of fidelity, which is actually higher here, but just a burnt twilight tone which feels moodier and more autumnal than say the last Ducktails, and like a pop refined version of Ferraro's immense 'Last American Hero'.