The new single from Brian May and Kerry Ellis, ‘PANIC ATTACK’, released 14 June by Sony Music, is a heart-felt paean for hope and positivity in the darkest times, both personal and worldly.
“I can’t get my breath – pain beatin’ in my chest – got nothin’ left – kinda feels like Life or Death …”
The song is a stand-out track (where it’s titled “It’s Gonna Be Alright – The Panic Attack Song”) on the Golden Days album, Brian and Kerry’s critically hailed second collection of original compositions and innovatively arranged rock classics, released in April. But this remix is brand new – and packs a punch. The lyric reaches for that breath-taking moment when despair and self-doubt metamorphose into soaring hope, and paralysing horror finds a liberating release. Brian and Kerry have given us a new hymn to optimism that is sure to become a carpool karaoke classic.
Written by May and sung with passionate gusto by Ellis, “PANIC ATTACK” is a personal song grounded in universal experience. “This track is straight from the heart and is designed to bring light to your darkest moments,” Brian says. “It works like a mood-altering drug”. Kerry agrees, adding that she hopes the song “can light a fire in people’s hearts.”
Opening with a percussive bout of heavy breathing by Kerry, the song builds and builds from an intimate verse of nagging anxiety, soaring upwards through warm currents of melody to a thunderous wall-of- sound chorus bursting with multi-layered vocal harmonies and exhilarating emotional euphoria. The climax features one of May’s unmistakable pyrotechnic guitar solos, a kaleidoscopic starburst of fluid fretwork which cascades and swoops before roaring off towards brighter horizons.
In these troubled times of Trump, Brexit, global strife and political division, “PANIC ATTACK” is also manna from heaven for fans of rock’s most revered axe hero and one of Britain’s finest female voices. It comes as no surprise that Stereoboard approvingly described the song as Ellis & May’s “‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ bouncing around on an inflatable castle with May’s ‘Driven By You’.”
On the surface a joyful Abba-esque earworm of high energy vocal choruses and soar-away guitar solos, the substance of this song is a daring portrayal of a real panic attack – the frightening experience that afflicts so many of us – but resolved by an uplifting and irresistibly catchy chorus which musically provides the antidote.
Panic attacks, according to experts, are exceedingly common: Thought by evolutionary biologists to be hardwired into the human brain as a primal survival mechanisms, these attacks are massive onslaughts of emotions that quicken the heartbeat, crank up perspiration and blur vision. They afflict around 10 per cent of Brits and 18 per cent of Americans. In the UK, around two in every 100 people suffer them regularly, with about twice a many women affected as men. The main triggers are severe stress, bereavement, failed relationships, money issues, divorce and job loss. Most often when they occur sufferers can feel like ‘this is it”.
“PANIC ATTACK” is an inspiration to us all to find the way out in moments of blackness. So when the pressures of modern life becomes overwhelming just stop, breathe, and crank up the stereo speakers. Don’t panic. It’s gonna be all right. Brian and Kerry’s 13-track Golden Days album, from which this track is taken, highlights what is now established as a unique May-Ellis fusion style. The collection includes May’s radical rock re-arrangement of the classic Born Free, the May-Ellis The Kissing Me Song, a re-cast of Ruth Moody’s powerful One Voice, and a new version of Amazing Grace.
These sit alongside songs from such timeless writers as, Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson and legendary classic American songbook writers Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller. Add to this the brand new self-penned offerings It’s Gonna Be All Right” (The Panic Attack Song) and Roll With You, as well as the haunting retro-psychedelic Love In A Rainbow, underscoring the broad musical landscape May and Ellis’ unique chemistry harnesses.
“The album is really a mixture of our experiences and has a story behind each song. Brian and I have had such fun developing it”, says Kerry.
The album and single “PANIC ATTACK” are available on the Sony Music label.