A lot of people are going to look at the image above and judge Hot Panda by its cover. Indeed, SYFFAL have already written a review almost exclusively discussing the inclusion of testes on the cover of Go Outside. I also fell into the trap of assuming certain things about Hot Panda based solely on this naked man flying through the air- when I hit play, I was expect playful, quirky indie rock.

Maybe all of the above is true. Go Outside is certainly a testament to Hot Panda's playfulness and sense of humour- snarky breakup anthem 'Holidays' intertwines a soaring brass section with lyrics like "unhappy birthday to you." The visceral opening track, 'One in the Head, One in the Chest' is also dripping with irony- vocalist Chris Connelly's cry of "Don't hate the West" is to be taken about as literally as the Sex Pistols chanting "God save the Queen." But Hot Panda are also a band to be taken seriously- their political agenda is once again displayed in 'Future Markets', where the global financial crisis is explored in the midst of pizzicato guitars, cellos and melancholy vocals asking "Now, who's leading who?" Whilst they craft a great bitter break up song, they are also clearly a band with a lot to say, and it's the blend of serious and playful- of the trivial and the consequential, of heartaches and global crises- that elevates this album.

'Quirky' is also a word that has been frequently used to described Hot Panda. But mainly this word has been used to avoid undertaking the awkward and difficult task of pinning them down to a particular genre. Initially, indie pop seems like a good place to start, but then you'd be overlooking the throaty vocals and furious guitar lines of some of Hot Panda's heavier, more punk-driven offerings. Chris Connelly's own description of 'artful pop music, played with a punk rock spirit' seems more accurate, but even that ignores the jazz leanings of songs such as 'Language'.

I wish I could say that the overall effect of this blending of genres was as cohesive as it is original, but I can't. As you wade through the indie pop-infused middle section of the album, you have almost completely forgotten that snarling opener 'One in the Head, One in the Chest' was even from the same record, and thus are slightly confused by the heavy jolt of 'Boats' at the close. Go Outside is ambitious, and weaves together alot of influences, both in terms of subject and sound. But whilst these various tones make for an interesting and, dare I say it 'quirky' listening experience, they do not make for the most coherent of albums.