Visionland

Banditos

Bloodshot Records, 2017

http://www.banditosband.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/04/2017

In 2015, the Birmingham/Nashville powerhouse known as Banditos released their debut self-titled album full of roaring Southern rock, soulful blues, and rowdy garage rock. After a couple of years of touring to the support the album, they return here with a more expansive and sonically challenging listen that pushes the creative boundaries of these six artists.nbtc__dv_250

“Fine Fine Day” starts off with a psych-garage rocker that sets the pace at upbeat, ultra-melodic, and both rockin' and rollin'. “Strange Heart” follows and puts Mary Beth Richardson's strong pipes at center stage, as the band takes a more classic rock approach through this moody ride. The title track “Visionland” then brings both male and female vocals together via a hazy, turbulent, and even more psych-influenced experience.

Halfway through the album delivers the groove-filled and nearly funky “Thick N' Thin” and the longest song of bunch, the soulful country balladry of “Healin' Slow.” The pace picks up quickly, though, with the highlight track “Lonely Boy,” which is a surf-influenced jam song that presents a platform for all the members to shine.

The albums ends strong with the heavy banjo and Americana meets jam influences of the aptly titled “Fun All Night” and the retro, hushed feel of “When It Rains,” a tune that would be a great companion to Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The last two songs present two vastly but intriguing styles of Banditos, with the lush and vintage “Still And Quiet,” where Mary Elizabeth takes the helm, and the rowdier country blues of “DDT,” which could soundtrack a trainhopping experience.

It's no surprise that members of Banditos cut their teeth in punk bands, as the grit is still present. But the band's growth and ability to embrace so many influences makes them one of the most exciting out there today. For fans of legends like Etta James or Paul Westerberg, Visionland will impress.

Rating: A-

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