Published on 07/02/2023 11:00 am

This week’s Balkan Express will be full of short tunes, basic chords and direct, no-nonsense lyrics. Even though the name of the band might suggest otherwise. If anything, Pink Panker are proving that – in Slovenia, at least – punk is most definitely not dead.

Pink Panker are a five-member act from Litija, a river-town just east of the capital Ljubljana. Grm and Kisuc on guitars, Jaga and Urko on the bass and drums respectively. Finally, there’s Vini with his distinctive vocals.

DIY punk band

That said, they are not a simplistic punk band. Band members have a not-insignificant mileage in various other lineups as well as experience in the back-end of the music industry. Rather, they’ve deliberately chosen to be a street-punk band. Down to the fact that even their recording sessions are a DIY experience. Simply because they refuse to compromise on how their music comes across.

The intentionally rough sound of Pink Panker hides one other feature of the band. Well, perhaps “hide” is not the correct word. For it becomes apparent from the very first bars of their firs album. Namely, that the band is overtly political, and is making no excuses. Of course, one expects that from a punk band. But the seventies with their fuck-the-system punk are uncomfortably far away. Getting face-slapped by a political tune in this day and age is almost as rare as Beyoncé winning a Grammy for album of the year.

Music, much like life in general, does not happen in a vacuum. As the band’s native Slovenia reels from a far-right populist regime that looked like a love child of Viktor Orban and Boris Johnson, the new powers that be are not beyond producing significant levels of political and pseudo-scientific bullshit. And as dispiriting as it all is, at the very least the environment is very conducive to Pink Panker’s music.

When punk qualifies as normal

However, in an ironic twist of fate, Pink Panker are advocating for more normality. Perhaps that is indicative of a society in a desperate need of a meteor strike. Indeed, a middle-class status-quo seems at least as revolutionary and non-conformist as anything else today. That’s how unhinged the world around us oftentimes seems.

That is not to say that the band are a bunch of Karens driving a minivan on their way from school to soccer practice. They do, however, note that crazies get all the attention out there and that quote-unquote “normal people” should simply be more loud. And by normal people, Pink Panker mean themselves, obviously.

To date, they released one full-length album. To be sure, with a punk band, “full-length album” is always going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting. But Pastirske pesmi / Shepperd’s Songs, released in 2016 twelve tracks, about half of which exceed Eurovision length. So yeah, a full-length album. More recently, however, they released a three-song EP, announcing an imminent release of their sophomore album, which promises to be even more crisp and direct.

Check out Pink Panker of YouTube, Bandcamp and wherever you get your music from. Balkan Express will be back next week.

Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of, you guessed it, the Balkans. Forget gusle and tamburice, this show is about rock, pop and a sense of humour. Well, at least there’s guitars. On air most Tuesdays in a new-and-improved time-slot at 1100 hrs. Usually. Your train conductor is Aljaž (aka @pengovsky) who once did the world a solid and decided never to sing again in public. Which is why he ended up doing radio

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With : Aljaž Every Tuesday at 10.00

Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of the Balkans.

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Pink Panker (Balkan Express 107)