90 Day Men make great piano-centralized rock colored with vocals reminiscent of Mike Patton's Tomahawk coming down on a grandmother's couch in broad daylight. The Windy City quartet resembles few bands, except for TV on the Radio, and only because both combine stark and dodgy originality with slightly unsettling introspection. Psyched out yet?
Don't be. Panda Park is a 35-minute excursion that never dips into the distressing peaks and valleys of pestering confrontation. It's a shrink practicing vicarious living as a solution/warped get-off routine. "Even Time Ghost Can't Stop Wagner" pulls the ears gently into the frame with time-spanning fairy-tale keys courtesy of Andy Lansangan, who plays beautiful notes of calm next to a gently ascending guitar. Far from New Age cliché, it leads into the sinking realization of "When Your Luck Runs Out," as Brian Case whispers, "This is not superstition, I'm just scared as shit."