by Thomas Bedward February 10, 2021
A unique artist whose life can be divided into distinct chapters, Pandu Hutomo has been a banker, hotelier, ticketer, teacher, CEO, criminal, and a band member in his time. A self-confessed dabbler from Southeast Asia who carries with him “an old-fashioned sense of guilt and a buttload of musical inspirations”, Pandu first rose to prominence with the release of ‘South City’, an impressive release that drew praise and attention from the likes of The Static Drive, The National Post UK, and She Wolf Magazin. Soaked in a lifetime of doomed romances and washed with a maelstrom of distorted guitars and mixolydian melodies, Pandu has an undeniably unique sound, and with the release of his latest ten-track epic, he’s continued to prove that the best songs really do come from heartbreak.
An album that details a decade of heartbreaks, ‘Wasted Hearts’ is a masterclass in learning to live with loss. Opening with the Brit-pop inspired sounds of ‘McFlurry Blues!’, Pandu takes his first steps into his cathartic journey, diving into the past and looking for some sort of closure that has escaped him until now. It’s a strong opening cut, one that revels in soaring vocals, sharp guitar hooks, and an inescapable sense of familiarity. As the album continues, the title track and ‘Call Me When You’re Feeling Down’ deliver more sonic life lessons and tales of lost connections, cementing Pandu’s sound on the album with a dynamic alt-rock edge.
In following numbers like ‘Rogue Everything….’, ‘Hopeful Romantics’, and ‘Conservative Dear’, Pandu lays down a more ambient, emotive sound, capitalising on deep bass lines, rolling guitar chords and a tangible sense of melancholy that even the most stone-cold heart will be moved by. In ‘Rosamarie’, Pandu returns to his Brit-pop influences, delivering one of the album’s true and untempered highlights, while the final one-two hits of ‘Miss Stewardess (Flight Lost)’ and ‘Sixteen’ illustrate his ability to turn wandering, shoegaze sounds and modern indie-pop into undisputed hits.
Like the partners that Pandu loved and lost, each track on the album shines with its own character, detailing the lessons learnt and the scars that are still healing. An ultimately expressive blend of cool indie sounds and emotive pop melodies, ‘Wasted Hearts’ is lyrically moving and brilliantly crafted, arriving as one of the great undiscovered gems of the year so far.
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