Friday, 7 August 2015

Record Review - Banditos

Published in the Shortlist section of The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday August 7.

Bloodshot Records

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, but now based in Nashville, six-piece Banditos are somewhat of a musical enigma. Possessed of a raw power, rough and grimy around the edges, their country punk ‘n’ roll carries with it an undeniable intelligence, all of which combines on their eponymous debut to near perfection.

Songs like The Breeze and Still Sober (After All These Beers) swing with a Jon Spencer-like verve, all reckless abandon and country twang ‘n’ grind, while Golden Grease and Old Ways sway slowly, shimmering and shambolic, Mary Beth Richardson’s vocals on the latter giving Janis Joplin a run for her money.

Tying it all together is the fact all songs, whether burning down barns or aurally caressing you, are intricately arranged and executed. Amongst the grunt is a solid understanding of how country music works and what it means, which gives the music idealistic power, behind the wall of guitar/bass/drums/banjo sound. Gritty vocal harmonies only add an extra dimension.

Samuel J. Fell

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