Is This The Real Life Or Is It ‘E.S.P’? Chicago Dreampop Band Panda Riot Show Us They Can Read Our Minds

‘E.S.P’, by Chicago four piece Panda Riot, channels the shoegaze sound of Irish legendary shoegaze band, My Bloody Valentine, but gives the fuzzy distorted guitars a pop sound with up-tempo vocals.

Originally comprising Brian Cook and Rebecca Scott, who first met at a bar in Philly, Panda Riot was born after the pair went on a few dates, and realised they could make beautiful music together. Their debut album, ‘She Dares All Things’, was recorded in their bedroom, and even now Cook has recorded, mixed, and mastered all their albums. He’s even built the custom guitar pedals responsible for their fuzzy signature sound.

While their instrumentals are characteristic of shoegaze, Scott’s vocals are pushed to the forefront, giving the track an almost jolly feel that nonetheless sits well with the sonic blurring of the guitars and dance-rhythm drums.

‘E.S.P’ comes from their fourth and latest album, ‘Extra Cosmic’, which was written during the pandemic. The duo were joined by bassist Cory Osborne after album 3, ‘Infinity Maps’, and now as well on drums by Brian Hilderbrand, ensuring the guitars are not overpowering, and giving the listener another focal point.

The song is accompanied by an animated music video, showing the band as neon line drawings, reminiscent of the scratch art paintings we all did at school.

Do we love ‘E.S.P’? Of course we do – and we’re sure Panda Riot knew we would.

Panda Riot are online on their official website, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Panda Riot - E.S.P.

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email