Up until now, my knowledge of Bozeman's Panther Car has been superficial—from what I've heard, they're dudes apparently unafraid to shred in their undies. So, I was pleasantly surprised when the first chords on Palace on the Hill hit with such clarity; it's nice to hear the band has substance, too. Palace is merely a collection of five demos recorded this spring and released this month, but its edges are smooth and in many parts it delivers a catchy punch. Now, the band's got to figure out how to be more cohesive. The opener "Get This Real" sounds like it would be a highlight on a sampler CD from Equal Vision records—notorious for its embrace of early 2000s emo—but then the last track, "Afterveffen," gets straight funky with a long guitar-led outro. In between there's the underdeveloped "Semanticide," an alt-rock tune that, despite being creative, wanders too much. A single riff would suffice, but three-too-many times a new melody appears when an exit is warranted. The penultimate "Befferveffen" has the most promise and should guide the band's songwriting. It blends the vocals in a more natural way and the well-played guitars fit with the well-used pedals at last. This is the song that makes Panther Car seem less like a weekend hobby and more like a serious endeavor.
Panther Car plays the VFW Sat., June 21, at 10 PM. $3/$6 for those 18–20.