With bouncy, sped-up rhythms, The Banditos’ self-titled debut album really knows how to get the listener’s toe tapping. Beginning with a thumping and elevated drum line, the album’s initial track “The Breeze,” serves as a perfectly-balance shop window in which each of the band’s instrumentalists show off their very real talents, some of the best moments coming from the guitar work of Corey Parsons and Jeffrey Salter.
The band further showcases their versatility in the tracks “Waitin’” and “No Good,” a couple of simmering, melancholy ballads that exemplify the best of what could be called the swampland torch song, in which the vocals are led by Mary Beth Richardson who controls her voice with delicacy and power as if she is handling a pretty pink pistol. Banjo player Stephen Pierce makes his most notable contribution in another Richardson-led track, “Ain’t it Hard,” in which he is accompanied throughout by a bewitching guitar riff, while the laid-back, groovy surf-rocker, “Still Sober (After All These Beers) tips it hat to Paul Simon in its title before hopping behind the wheel of one of the best driving songs to ever be written, a feat accomplished with generous assistance from the incomparable rhythm section of drummer Randy Wade and bass player Danny Vines.
Amazingly talented and always playful, the band lightens things up at the beginning of the latter half of the album by introducing the kazoo in “Long Gone, Anyway.” A sonic dynamism defines the band’s flexible sound as they go from the bluesy and reflective “Old Ways” to the jangling, guitar-centric ride of “Can’t Get Away.” The album closes with the attention-grabbing, Elvis-style rocker “Cry Baby Cry” and the acoustic, soulful “Preachin’ to the Choir,” rounding off an impressively, diverse and praise-worthy debut from a near-virtuosic sextet.
This album is a can’t miss for fans of blues rock as its tonal influences span decades and subgenres; fans of Led Zeppelin will instantly be reminded of “Four Sticks” and some of the finer points of guitar work from Physical Graffiti at the album’s outset while fans of the modern blues rock scene will easily apprehend the echoing vocals and disparate, yet unified, harmonies redolent of The Black Keys. Give this album a listen and support a majorly-talented band of musicians that are both paying tribute to and decentralizing the tradition of the delta blues.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– The Breeze
– No Good
– Still Sober (After All These Beers)
– Old Ways
– Cry Baby Cry
The Big Hit
– Cry Baby Cry
Review by McKinnie Sizemore
Buy the album: Amazon