Review: Bandit, ‘Of Life’
Written By: Joel Funk
Every once in a while, the stars align and you stumble across a band that just works. You hear the first thirty seconds of a single in your headphones and you’re swept up in musical bliss and then you’re immediately shot in the gut anticipating a newly announced album. Sometimes that band is so obscure and hard to find on the internet, that you can really only listen to the singles to tide you over until you can hear the album in full.
When the stars aligned, I found Bandit. Or rather, I received news that they had signed to Broken Circles. That shot to the gut came in the form of waiting to hear ‘Of Life.’ Regardless, they made their way into my ears. From the moment I first heard vocalist Angela [Plake] start to sing, I knew that I was going to be in for a treat. Her voice is sweet and subdued, and it’s expressive enough that she can communicate emotion without having to give an over the top performance.
Going beyond vocals, the musicianship brought to the table by this band is incredible. Album opener “The Drive Home” features an incredible horn section that feels so natural behind Angela’s vocals, and helps in creating a very atmospheric vibe to the track. This, of course, happens right before throwing us into what is arguably one of the best indie songs of the last ten years.
“Brain” shows off everything that makes Bandit great. The vocals are incredible, the music is bouncy, and everything just feels at home in the track. This is just one of several tracks that will make your jaw hit the floor on this record. Others include “Pushing”, “Losing In A Sense”, “Forgetting Days”, “Where Is My Mind?”, and “Dragon.” It’s because of these tracks that I’m more apt to call ‘Of Life’ a work of art than I am anything else, if that makes any sense.
There are albums that are just…well, albums. They exist, and that’s about all they do. Bandit has managed to create a work of art that is just as easy to listen to as it is to get lost in. You could pick this record apart, and layer by layer, Bandit will prove to you just what an incredible group of musicians they truly are. They managed to take an already good Pixies song, and make it sound absolutely incredible. Angela’s voice is just so full that “Where Is My Mind?” [originally released in 1988] sounds fresh. Hell, it sounds borderline innovative. You should listen to that.
With ‘Of Life’ being the first full-length album that I’ve listened to in 2015, I can honestly say that this year in music has its work cut out for it. Bandit has created an incredible work of art, and it becomes even more incredible when you realize that this is only their debut. I can’t wait to see what more time can do for this already phenomenal band. They’re definitely an artist to keep an eye out for this year. Broken Circles really knew what they were doing when they released this album.