A fixture at UK radio before they’d released even a shred of music online, Panic Shack were formed in late 2018 as an affront to how music can feel like a members-only club at the best of times, a phallocracy at the worst. The five-piece – comprised of Sarah Harvey, Meg Fretwell, Romi Lawrence, Em Smith and David Bassey – have since built a word-of-mouth following for their frenetic live show and a string of singles – ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’, ‘Jiu Jits-You’, ‘I Don’t Really Like It’ – that have been staples at BBC Radio 1 and 6Music, alongside earning plaudits from NME, Dork, Gigwise and more.
“We started the band because we’d spent years going to gigs supporting our indie boy bandmates,” explains Lawrence “One day we thought ‘why aren’t we doing this ourselves, surely it can’t be that hard?’.Hopefully we can show people that music doesn’t have to feel like a ‘members-only club’. If we can do it, literally anyone can!”
That inclusiveness permeates everything Panic Shack do: a band writing killer, off-kilter songs whose guitarists could barely play four chords when they began; whose drummer learnt his craft on those awful plastic tubs that come bundled with Guitar Hero; who got started covering Dead or Alive and Stealers Wheel from Googled tabs. It’s the kind of trajectory you could compare to a modern Young Marble Giants or ESG, but those bands rarely sounded this fun or alive.