Good Luck and Do Your Best
Reviewed by Dan Sinclair
First and foremost, we here at Beer.Movies.Music would like to join forces with Gold Panda to battle relentlessly against this world full of snark and wish all of you good luck when you are out there doing your best. As for the literal album title Good Luck and Do Your Best, the name apparently derives from the last words uttered by a Japanese taxi driver. He sounds like a good dude.
But it figures that Derwin (Mr. Panda's preferred moniker) would draw inspiration from a car ride in a foreign land because his third album is very much an exotic, mind-expanding, electronic journey. Starting with the soft, atmospheric "Metal Bird," which feels very much like waking to a brand new day. It's a little strange, but at the same time so soothing, you can't help but wonder what happens next. Soon it becomes clear the decision to continue was a wise one as "In My Car" pulls you out the door and whisks you down the road. Somehow you're able to stick all your arms and legs comfortably out the window and allow them to sway in the gentle breeze. Don't believe me? Check out the video...
First stop on the journey is "Chiba Nights," where it's perfectly fine to start dancing. And, actually, just keep the dancing going for "Pink & Green." It'll be a more mellow dance, but you'll want to keep moving all the same. "Song for a Dead Friend" may scare you at first with its tapes-rewinding repetitive sound, but it'll be okay. Beer.Movies.Music recommends you grab a barley wine (or something with an equally high ABV), which will get you feeling fine and ready to transition to the much easier-to-handle "I'm a Real Punk," and get ready to loose control to the funky beats of "Autumn Fall" and "Halyards."
"Time Eater" may just be the best track on the whole album with a moving, dramatic intro that eventually explodes into a cool-ass, movie-score-esque jam...
Wait! Shit! That's a damn good idea. Derwin, will you please score my next film? You know, IF there ever is another one. Damn. Now I need a beer.
... and from there you travel to the melancholy dream called "Unthank," before arriving at your final destination, the somewhat-intense-but-fun-because-it's-accompanied-by-a-fancy-jazzy-horn-section, "Your Good Times Are Just Beginning."
And that last track's title proves to be quite apt. When any meaningful journey ends, the traveler, having gained experience and wisdom, is now changed-- hopefully for the better-- and thus begins life anew, which can only lead to good-er times. Good Luck and Do Your Best's journey is certainly on that level as it creates a very unique atmosphere, switching back and forth effortlessly from different emotional responses to strong desires to shake one's booty just about as well as anyone can hope for.
BEER.MOVIES.MUSIC SAYS... **** (4 out of 5 possible asterisks)