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Banquets – This is Our Concern, Dude

Whatever it is that’s coursing through the veins of Banquets, it’s connected to the lifeblood of some seriously good rock n’ roll.

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There is something in the Jersey water, or the air, or the food they eat because the products of their craft have been of the highest quality. This quartet is every bit the punchy blue-collar sounding rock n’ roll band you’d expect from the state that made this sound famous. Like the Gaslight Anthem before them, This is Our Concern, Dude is a brief blast meant as an introduction of sorts (think Senor And the Queen). 4-tracks of bluesy, rock n’ roll powered punk themes that are every bit as glorious as they are introspective.

“Lyndon B. Magic Johnson” and “Eleanor I Need A Garden” are the folkish opening numbers and serve as the perfect one-two opening punch. In “What a Bunch of Aaron Burrs”, melody and poetry intersect at perfect speeds, resulting in a near perfect piece of bluesy melancholia. Closing off the foursome is “I Wish I Was A Little More Lou Diamond Phillips”, a more hallowed, almost-orchestral tune.

Banquets are no stranger to the worlds of popular film culture and American Presidential history. They are intelligent songwriters, heartfelt lyricists and ample tradesmen in the genre of bluesy folk punk. Only anticipation and hope awaits their next venture. And whatever it is that’s coursing through the veins of Jersey musicians, it’s connected to the lifeblood of some seriously good rock n’ roll.

(Black Numbers)

Reviews

Hatchie – Keepsake

Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars

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Hatchie Keepsake

Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.

There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.

However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.

The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.

(Heavenly Recordings)

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