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4.5 / 5 (4)
Pnau cover
Very rarely has any sort of emerging band received the acclaim and privilege awarded to Pnau over the past years. It's like they passed straight through the pages of the book on how things were meant to be done, and their ascent has been astounding.

Pnau's success has been as deserved as it has been anomalous, and the band members themselves as curious as they are talented. Pete Mayes and Nick Littlemore, the Enfants Terrible of the Australian Music industry, have won the respect of their peers and the loyalty of their fans by consistently producing simple, intelligent hooks, fat sounds, and awesome imagery. Their long awaited third album 'PNAU' is an admission of sorts; Music is bigger than any one person and connected to absolutely everything.

'PNAU' is a sagacious offering; the act has mastered the art of reminiscence and innovation, abducting current trends to shear the way forward with this positive and futuristic, hybrid beast of a recording. There's a clarity and awareness in the sounds and songwriting throughout. It's bare and celebratory and in the buoyant key of Hell Yeah, if it had hands it would slap you on the ass. The spontaneous moments are void of flippancy and the heavy moments are uplifting. There is real knowledge at work here, real skill, no bluff, no laconic bravado or dark humours. Maturity and sophistication are two words that will be bandied around for this work, but honesty and acknowledgment seem closer to the mark for an album that is poised to become a landmark recording.

Their innate understanding of the entire package of artistic expression is what earned them Australia's top music gong in 1999, an Aria Award, in the electronic category for their debut release 'Sambanova'; an album that wasn't even properly cleared but looked and sounded fantastic. It was a rebellious fluke from accidental shit stirrers that was released in 4 different versions and confused the nuts off everyone. It suited the band to a T and kick starting their rock 'n' droll lifestyle, touring with every major festival in Australia.

They backed-up 'Sambanova' with 'Again', a sophomore release that shoved a dirty big told-you-so sock down the throats of the nay-sayers who adamantly believed both Pnau and electronic music were but a flash in the pan. Pnau were off on US and European tours, performing peak sets between Darren Emerson and Fatboy Slim one night, and playing to private audiences with Naomi Campbell and Ricky Bloody Martin the next. Not so much overwhelmed as chronically amused and soaking it all in, filing everything away, Pnau came to the attention of infamous producers, songwriters and performers, all buying into the intrigue of two Aussie musos patently NOT vying to be famous. It wasn't long till they gravitated toward their own kind and submerged themselves deeply in the next phase of their artistic evolution. From LA to Sweden to the UK to Redfern, Pnau the band became a somewhat amorphous entity, existing in spirit if not completely in body. The grueling schedule of being in a band took a seat; not a back seat, just a seat in the middle of the room. Kind of near the front, but to the left a bit.

That was then. Quite obviously, this is now. (and please for the love of all that's holy, no more rhyming puns).

With the release of the self-titled album 3, the very first local release from new label etcetc, you'd be forgiven for thinking Pnau are finally fulfilling the epic destiny that we've all been quietly waiting for them to realize. All the skilled bits and honed pieces seem to be coming together and we suspect they're starting to take their talent seriously. Insane, we know! But it's like they don't consider 'ambition' to be a dirty word anymore.

If it takes a village to raise a child then it's understandable that they've utilized their artistic community to raise this album in the Fing Fang Fong studios. On 'PNAU' not only will you hear Nick's vocal talents, you'll also hear their work with Luke Steele from The Sleepy Jackson, a match made in heaven, Pip Brown from Ladyhawke, Nik Yannikas from Lost Valentinos, and Michael DeFrancesco from Van She. Fabian 'Mr Oizo' Feadz of Ed Banger fame worked closely with Pnau on the first single release 'Wild Strawberries', and across it all Nick's elder brothers. Sam Littlemore (Gwen Stefani, Black Eyed Peas, Tonite Only) has been in control of the mix, while James Littlemore has exerted his seasoned creative direction over the entire project.

'PNAU' is a timeless and positive album. If 'Sambanova' was an ass-grab, and Again was a casual fling, then 'PNAU' is a love affair that will endure. This is dance floor Pnau as you've ever known them, only better. Much, much, better.

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