Don't dismiss Panic in Detroit just because the band is named after the third-best song on David Bowie's sixth-best album. Panic in Detroit's stick-to-the-ribs melodies seem almost miraculous for a band with only one self-titled EP under its belt. Thanks in part to the production work of Jawbox/Burning Airlines frontman J. Robbins (who specializes in bridging the gap between power pop and abrasive, rhythmic post-punk), the band is already ahead of the game, with percussive guitar work reminiscent of Shiner or even Jawbox during its own brief stab at the mainstream. Panic in Detroit is a pop-punk band at heart, but its heaviness makes every hook smack like a sucker punch.
It's OK to cringe at cryptic, unrepentantly emo song titles such as "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" or to scoff at the way singer Ryan Chavez evokes the uptight vocals of Bad Religion even when he tries to lighten up; Panic in Detroit is young, with plenty of time to work out those kinks. You simply can't deny the appeal of the loose and confident "Whatever, Whatever" or the bruising "We Own Everything," two tracks that exemplify the polar extremes of Panic in Detroit's sound. Whichever direction the band ultimately pursues, Panic in Detroit could end up attracting a major cult following.