Surf Panama /// The Grand Prix

Music is an effective device that can change your mood and your momentary outlook. However, sometimes a song can transform the world inside of your own mind. Paris-based alternative rock outfit, The Grand Prix, have conjured up a cinematic sound that manifests visions of a desert landscape on their largely instrumental single, “Surf Panama.” An oasis of hypnotic melodies, this track offers up a mesmerizing sound that shifts your mind from drab to scores of majestic, burnt orange and scarlet natural hues.

In order to achieve this transformational sound, the building blocks must be assembled. Step by step, the band lays the groundwork for what ends up being a panoramic, melodic experience. At its base, there’s an ethereal, earthly hum with echoes of a crackling effect that emphasizes the expansive nature of the soundscape you’re about to enter. From there, gunslinger guitar riffs evoke an aggressive edge that is fulfilled by the appearance of deep bass. Eventually, those guitar riffs become a hyper, high strung, spaghetti western, spinning up an artful twist.

Being a majority instrumental track, The Grand Prix relies upon captivating hooks to keep your attention. However the lone vocals on this track have their own enchanting quality to them. “Surf Panama, surfing Panama” are the only lyrics and are sung in such a repetitive way that the words begin to blur together on their own. In a pseudo, mirage effect for the ears, you catch yourself thinking that there’s an entirely new phrase in there somewhere. There isn’t one, but it’s a neat trick that keeps you actively engaged.

Instead of playing the same three chords or phoning in a formulaic melody, The Grand Prix created their own domain to play in. “Surf Panama” is where they are able to finesse their way to an immersive sound that plants you on a distant plane. By engaging your mind’s eye as well as your ears, The Grand Prix is not content with being in the background.

Written by Travis Boyer

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