Austria’s representative in Tel Aviv will be PÆNDA, a singer/songwriter and producer. The first noticeable thing about PÆNDA is her blue hair, and no doubt she’ll be hoping to fare better than the similarly hair-styled Rykka, who finished last in her semi-final back in 2016. Unfortunately, her draw in the ‘tougher’ semi-final - immediately after, no-doubt, crowd-pleasing Sweden - could lead to the curse of blue hair striking again. At least, the bookies certainly seem to think so.
Born Gabriela Horn, her Facebook page says that “PÆNDA is pop. PÆNDA is EDM with some rough edges. PÆNDA is a conscious tightrope walk, right between listening experience and dance music.” With this song, Limits, she has taken a different approach with a simple, well-sung song without background distraction. I’d imagine that the staging will also be quite simple, with Team Austria hoping that this stands out from the stage antics of other entries.
According to PÆNDA, Limits is about how she pushed herself to full exhaustion (can you be partially exhausted?) in her passion for music. I’m sorry to say that for me, on first, and subsequent listens, that was not the message I got. Instead, I assumed she was singing about someone called Hugh (or possibly Huw)!
Some people will appreciate the clarity of her voice and the song’s slightly hypnotic nature, but it’s a “pleasant but dull” from me.
A final point from me, PÆNDA seems to prefer her name to be in uppercase whilst at the same time wanting to avoid “pretentiousness or cliché”…