Panel Of Judges – Moods On The Move (Mistletone)
By Jodi Biddle
I’m probably late to the bandwagon on Panel Of Judges, because Moods On The Move is their fourth and final album apparently, which makes me a bit sad – but music is still good, even when it’s old or the band is no longer making music (or even if the band is no longer making good music). It’s nice to hear some Australian ‘indie’ that isn’t angling for a spot in the Hottest 100.
Moods On The Move contains wee little pocketfuls of music, music to fill empty spaces and make the room feel warmer, closer, cosier. It’s companionable music, to salve loneliness with gently jangling guitar (‘Rocking Chair’) and lazy, dreamy vocals (‘Dainty Vagabond’), occasionally drifting and melancholic (‘Rainy’) but mostly comfortable and familiar. They’re borrowing from The Go-Betweens and Paul Kelly (the vocal cross of nasal and unapologetically Australian is pure Kelly, especially on ‘Drifting Away’), Violent Femmes and Jack White’s early White Stripes stuff, and the general slacker aesthetic, without being sarcastic or bitter or ironic.
It’s easy for this kind of music to go wrong, for it to be too loose, too flaccid, too boring. Panel Of Judges holds it together; a messy lovely album. Nothing grand or long-reaching about it, this is not party music or even dinner party music – this is private music, curling around you, understanding the importance of moodiness in small moments.