Music » Critics' Choices

The Panic Division

Sunday, January 15, at El Torreon.

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If Depeche Mode staged a hostile takeover of Coheed & Cambria — which we're not suggesting, mind you — the result might sound something like San Antonio's the Panic Division. The young quintet's debut, Versus, is a satisfying amalgam of emotive mall-punk, prog-rock ambition and metallic aggression. If you're not listening closely, it's easy to dismiss the band as another emo 'NSync, but there's more going on here than first meets the ears. Mixing electronics with rock is nothing new, but the Panic Division uses electronic elements as more than just window dressing — they often act as the inspirations and foundations for the group's intricately layered compositions. With professed fondness for both Aphex Twin and Snapcase, these five Texans whip up a dust storm of buzzing synths, thumping samples and sizzling loops, then begin battling the droids with guitars, bass, drums and Colton Holliday's soaring vocals. It's the epic battle of man versus machine, heart versus hard drive. That or it's just damned good rock and roll.

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