I’ll admit, I’m late to the Bandit game. I had given Of Life a quick spin on Spotify when it was first released but hadn’t given it a ton of thought since then. My apologies. Mostly to myself because Of Life is a gorgeous record that I haven’t stopped listening to the last two days.
Female fronted, shoegazey, indie rock. It should have registered with me that this would be a record I would fall in love with. Angela Plake’s sounding fragile and exposed, all the while commanding your attention and delivered confidently. That almost brokenness is what compels you to listen and her presence is what makes you stay.
If I had to impart one piece of information about Of Life to you the reader it would be this; the band’s cover of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind.” Stripped clean and bare, the minimalist approach to the song gives the ballad and hauntingly intimate vibe that reaches deep inside of you and makes your soul cry. The rest of Of Life is lush in reverbed guitars and full band glory. The three piece packs a whole lot of sound. Which makes the near emptiness of Where Is My Mind so compelling and worth noting.
On Dragon the band modifies this approach within the song, giving way for Plake’s vocal and guitar to break through. But this time it’s more hopeful and full of possibility!
The Drive Home and Brain play as one continuous, going from slow and slightly melancholy to more joyful and triumphant. At times Plake and her mates sound like Jenny Lewis and Rilo Kiley. Yet I find Bandit more compelling and interesting than anything Rilo Kiley ever did. More in the vein of a great indie rock outfit like Denali than Rilo Kiley. It has that lushness that Denali mastered so well.
Of Life is fantastic. And since it’s been out for a while, you probably already know that. But for late comers like me, Of Life is an indie rock masterpiece and one of the best records I’ve heard this year! 5 out of 5 Stars!