The Bandar-Log – AK-747 Album Review

On The Bandar-Log’s press release, it boldly states: “For fans of The Strokes, Beck, The White Stripes, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.” I’ve stated this before, but I really hate the concept of “RIYL” stickers, only because more times than not, those artists have very little to do will each other. To their benefit, The Bandar-Log do not sound like a group ripping off The Velvet Underground, a kooky funk-rocker, Jack White or a glorified jam band. The closest pop proxy I could find for them is Incubus, so take that as you will.

 

The Bandar-Log’s debut album, AK-747 is a good effort. The production is solid, along with the songwriting, but overall, it’s a little tepid. The strength of this band is the actual music. “Crows Called Liars” starts off with a really slick bass intro, and the band launches into a tune that has varied time signatures throughout. Musically, it’s my favorite song on the record. It also serves as the template for the band’s structure.

Whereas most bands would write a verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, The Bandar-Log works in off-time parts. These guys would’ve been huge in the early 2000s when math rock bands like Vermillion were making a go of it.

Towards the end of the album, there’s a song called “Grey Brothers” that starts off like a standard pop song before dropping off and turning into a fast and aggressive song. It took me a little by surprise.

Unlike their contemporaries, The Bandar-Log do not play with literary devices. Their lyrics are pretty straight-forward, but not in an Anti-Flag or Billy Bragg sort of way — more like, in a my-first-rock-band sort of way. The words are the equivalent to reading an issue of Mother Jones, and while it works for a band like Rage Against The Machine, it doesn’t work for The Bandar-Log, only because the music in itself is so dynamic, the lyrics seem more like an afterthought.

Hopefully, whatever this band does next will be just musically challenging, because there’s obviously a lot of great ideas here; they just need to move in the right direction.

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Johnny Summerfield
Johnny Summerfield
10 years ago

The Bandar Log made me, a 44 year old out on the town with his 21 year old, feel awesome. The complexities of the guitarist, the strangeness of the singer, the geekiness of the bass player, and the awesomeness of the drummer really came together for me – though I had had a shot of single malt scotch. I think this band is just as good as any band and maybe better because when I met the guys before they went on I could tell they truly make music for the love of the art, just like I write poetry for the love of the art … sure, to hit bank would be nice, maybe, but the art must come first – just as my friend Melissa Dickson Blackburn said, the art first and all else will follow (loosely translated).

Three cheers for The Bandar Log.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

I hear a lot of Jim Morrison vocal inspiration about as much as I don’t. Overall, it was pleasing and I’m stuck on Mechanical Mistress and Teeth Like a Guillotine.

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