Despite the title, Edmonton’s Hot Panda is very much alive. The quartet’s sophomore release finds the quartet in the vital and creative throws of their youth. Their distinctive core sound allows them to experiment and explore musically without losing their sense of themselves as a band. The songs on How Come I’m Dead? are diverse and dynamic without being inaccessible as an album. There is the art rock intro “Membership Fees” for the VU set and the oddly aggressive, humorous and very catchy hip hop rant “Fuck Shit Up/ Hell Hey Hex” for those that like to drive with the windows down. The country duet “Shoot the Horse” is a sweet piece of Canadiana with Leonard Cohen-esque male vocals contrasted by a beautiful female voice and capped off with a guitar solo that pays tribute to Neil Young. Mixed in with all that are a few more commonplace, melodic indie rock tracks like “Start Making Sense” that will have everyone singing along with Chris Connelly’s simple yet shrewd lyrics. How Come I’m Dead? proves to be an ironic title for such a vibrant, lighthearted and intelligent album from a band who obviously has a blast making music.