Where do you go after sneaky whispers and stoned poetry? On the title track of Confronted, Pan-Pot arrive at a semi-vocoded female voice that complains about being sent to her room while worrying about a missing redhead who "walks with bunnies hopping at her side." At this point the high-hats crash into a climax that doesn't feel fully earned, given the inane vocals. (An aside: I might be more forgiving if she were speaking German or Finnish or some other language that I do not understand; the voice-as-instrument versus vocals-as-content argument has always been difficult to unpack, e.g., I think Ester Brinkmann's "Maschine" sounds brilliant, whereas many Germans find it a bit hokey). As for the actual music, the streamlined beat gallops at a good clip, the synthesizer is urgent and unsettling, and the hi-hats are shaken into a proper froth. All of Pan-Pot's signature elements are here, yet the emotional pay-off is missing. Perhaps I've heard this song too many times over the past two years. Maybe I'm disappointed by the promise of a confrontation that never arrives.
On the flip, "Face to Face" delivers more of the same nervous energy, with a distant radio transmission that serves as an effective counterpoint to the very present drums. As is quickly becoming standard practice, Confronted comes bundled with two digital releases: "Diamond Head" ends with a rush of full-tilt hi-hats and raw bass that conjures "Phylyps"-era Basic Channel although the effect is somewhat diminished after five minutes of stuttering atmospherics, and "The Birds" sprays several chirping lasers across a typical Pan-Pot groove. It's the typical part that's troubling about this release. If you don't own many of their records, Confronted isn't a bad place to start. If you already have a few of their songs, however, you might wonder if you need any more of them.