If I had a lick of musical talent I think I’d just go at making music with a “guns a blazing” attitude to writing songs. I mean if you like it fuck you, and if you don’t fuck you too. You know, just to keep it plain and simple. Let everyone know where I stand. This seems to be the approach of Austin Texas blues punkers The Banisters, and I like that approach. On their latest record, Piñon Vista The Bannisters explode out of the gate ready to rectify some rock n’ roll tunes, like there weren’t nothing holding ‘em back, like there weren’t no tomorrow. They just go after it, no stupid delayed build up to a mediocre hook, just plain old good ole fashioned rock n’ roll.
The opening tune “Weary Pilgrim” blends bluesy guitar riffs with whammies and wails, and the vocals are laid back but not lazy. Then there are bits of twang (they are from Texas anyhow) that interweaves throughout the song giving it the substance and dimension that every good rock tune requires. Next we get the same formula but sped up to a punkier beat. The song is “Don’t Text Me about Drugs.” It reminded me of the early years of Bad Religion and other such politically-minded punk upstarts whose songs can sometimes blend in a bit of wry humor along serious lines.
Things take a more mellow and indie-rock driven turn on rather radio-friendly “Heat Lightning” which gets a little warped in a good way as it morphs from this radio-friendliness to a more balls out rocker along the lines of Neil Young when he gets really pissed off. The diversity ensues as singer/songwriter Nicole Hutchins adds her powerful vocals, reminiscent of Patti Smith’s beautiful growl, to the progressive and groovy rocker “Toxic.” Hutchins closes out Piñon Vista, with the soulful and serious grooves of “Superstar.”
The Bannisters dynamic of letting their musical tastes help to write the songs individually and play them collectively could have easily blown up in their faces. I have heard it happen thousands of times. The fact that it didn’t happen to them is because they see the bigger picture and they know that a diverse batch of songs that sound like they were written cohesively can only come together if everyone plays their part, which is exactly what each of the Bannisters do best.
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