Album Review: Failed at Math(s)

Panchiko returns after a 20-year hiatus with Failed at Math(s).


Image/Graphics by Panchiko

The cover art for Failed at Math(s), Panchiko’s 2023 comeback album.

On Friday, May 5th, Panchiko ended a 20-year hiatus by releasing their album Failed at Math(s). The new album contains several tunes that continue their previous demo compilation, Ferric Oxide.

Failed at Math(s) opens with the title track and lead single, “Failed at Math(s),” This song combines indie pop stylings and lots of electronic elements too. The album uses electronics all across its runtime, and it sounds great. This kind of music is usually called indietronica. The following tracks are “Portraits” and “Until I Know,” the two other singles. Both are excellent examples of what Panchiko excels at, a nostalgic but playful sound. They are enjoyable and are great moments on the album. The next track is an instrumental interlude called “Breakfast Séance.” The album can break into two parts, the first being before the intermission and the second part being after. I’m honestly unsure which is better because both are nice and pleasant. 

The next track, “Find It (A Song),” is a relaxed and sentimental song. It uses some good synths and ends with a long, droning synth that leads perfectly into the next song, “Gwen Everest.” It is a highlight for me. The loud and noisy guitars sound incredible and help the sound develop interestingly. I love “Gwen Everest,” as it could be the best song on the project. The next track is “Think That’s Too Wise,” a very catchy and distorted song on the album. Though this song doesn’t compare to the final track on the album “Rocking with Keith.” The closing song is an instrumental piece that uses shimmery keys, distorted guitars, and contorted drums. The song builds up until it releases near the halfway point and sounds phenomenal. “Rocking with Keith” is spectacular and one of my favorite songs of the year.

The story of Panchiko is unique. The band had been around during the early 2000s releasing two EPs. First, they released D<E<A<T<H<M<E<T<A<L in 2000, which was unexplored at the time. They also released Kicking Cars in 2001. Both of these EPs would gain somewhat of a cult following after someone had found a CD of D<E<A<T<H<M<E<T<A<L plagued with disc rot in a bin at a thrift store and posted online to see if anyone could discover this band. After someone identified Panchiko, the project became very popular online. Nineteen years after the release of Kicking Cars, the band released Ferric Oxide, the demo compilation. Many of the songs from Failed at Math(s) were continued demos from Ferric Oxide.

Overall, Failed at Math(s) is a strong comeback for Panchiko. It was worth the wait, and the band said they needed a reinvention. Andy, a Panchiko member, said in an interview with Uproxx, “It feels like we accidentally cheated, it is a bit weird to go from zero to 1000 in 20-odd years.” This band is finally starting to reinvent itself and is most certainly on an upward trajectory from here. I would rate this album a strong 8 out of 10. My favorite tracks are “Failed at Math(s),” “Gwen Everest,” and “Rocking with Keith.”