Bandit

Of Life

Written by: TL on 16/01/2015 18:52:48

The band Bandit, based in Nashville, Tennessee, is a group recently formed around songwriter and singer/guitarist Angela Plake, as she enlisted the help of guitarist Dan Bishop and drummer Charles Miller. Their debut album is called "Of Life" and is set to be released in a few days, yet the band has already got some attention online, drawing comparisons to the likes of Pedro The Lion. Sounding like an indie-rock group that's constantly considering being a post-rock band instead, the trio has a patient, dreamy style, with occasional horn supplement and tremolo riffing adding to the base upon which Plake sings in an excellent, clearly pronounced alto voice. A voice which brings to mind Now, Now's Cacie Dalager or Sarah Brightman of My Brightest Diamond, which is never a bad thing.

The cool thing though, is that the sound is grounded nicely. There's both a sense of weight and some organic, darker touches to the melodies that keep things from getting too twinkly or lofty. Fans of Thrice, My Epic, or the newer Moving Mountains stuff should have an idea what I'm talking about, although Bandit are a bit lighter and obviously have the female vocals to differ. A song like "Pushing" at track three is a good example, where Plake's turns of phrasing have her sounding almost like a female Stephen Christian (of Anberlin) in the verses, and where her singing is arranged very well in a back and forth with both light, bubbly melodies and more churning and threatening riffage.

If the album has a weakness, it is that it works best as an album, more so than individually, song by song. It draws you in via its overall qualities, with progressions that develop in well-timed movements and with the vocals consistently impressing both by being so clearly sung that you can hear every word, but also with how they feel tempered and mature, yet affected at the same time. That said, the group seems reluctant to properly flex their muscles and rattle their own enchantments, meaning that you don't get the dramatic and obvious highlights that characterise songwriting of more experience and confidence. And yet a song like "Through The Glass" lets itself be known already with the first bits of twangy guitar and hazy singing, and the way Plake's vocals rise elegantly to the delicate chorus sounds like it will send a tickle down your spine in the live setting.

Of further note is the band's icy, piano-based cover of Pixies' classic "Where Is My Mind" and the following "Dragons", which really comes into its hypnotic own when the horns come in towards the end. Really though, the supporting cast around the mentioned tracks holds up well enough too, and overall "Of Life" is just a very measured, well-made record. At nine tracks, one of which is a cover, Bandit doesn't try to stretch beyond their reach with their first effort. The band gets in a good batch of songs where they consistently stage their likeable, intriguing sounds, and otherwise leave the listener wanting more. Not bad for a first effort, and definitely one of the first intriguing new sounds of 2015.

Download: Through The Glass, Pushing, Dragons,
For The Fans Of: Now, Now; My Epic; Moving Mountains; Thrice; Pedro The Lion
Listen: facebook.com/thebandbandit

Release date 20.01.2015
Broken Circles

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