?Arrived in Gold,? New York City?s Sightings fourth album, thrust the listener into a toned down industrial catastrophe, one many were not expecting. It seemed as if they momentarily pushed away the speaker expanding sound of their earlier albums for a more focused studio album, which was a startlingly liberating move for the band. ?Through the Panama? continues where ?Arrived in Gold? left off, evolving that relatively clean sound with intricate percussive and structural swagger far beyond what they had accomplished previously.
Of the many highlights to this album, the crystal clear vocals, no longer hiding within the electronic fog of earlier outings, stand as one of the albums most defining changes. The vocals leave behind the confrontational delivery of earlier albums for melodic incantations similarly found shrouded in the noise of their last album ?End Times,? a raucous lo-fi event. While the vocals are on the forefront here, they are also much more refined since ?End Times? and ?Arrived in Gold,? showing an adept use of notes and the familiar cadence that Sightings has displayed time and time again. The fourth track ?The Electrician? shows the pinnacle of Sightings? developments, starting quietly with only feedback, bass and vocals, leading to a disjointed psychedelic collapse. The layers of guitar, drums and bass show a distinct eye towards melody while at the same time not losing the traits that make Sightings unique. By the time the title track comes in, the album changes course towards more aggressive rhythmic cries. The final song ?Black Peter? ends the album appropriately with a six minute instrumental; it waxes and wanes through noisy contours to hectic guitar and bass driven parts, all the while maintaining throbbing drums to the timely conclusion of the album.
Where ?Absolutes? presents Sightings at the top of their feedback soaking game, ?Through the Panama? leaves them dominating a post-industrial limbo, taking the best parts of mid-era Einsturzende Neubauten and putting together an odyssey through all places, both mental and geographical, people tend to avoid. The striking difference is that ?Through the Panama? takes parts of all Sightings? output, to use them with discretion such as the destructively lo-fi aura of ?Absolutes? and the rhythmic leanings and chants in ?Arrived in Gold?. All are finely tuned into an album that is not only cohesive, but exposes Sightings in a tonally pleasant atmosphere where all their ugly tools play off each other?s finest qualities, instead of solely playing off each other?s ugliness. 8/10 -- Andrew Sadowski (24 October, 2007)