I won’t lie, I’m annoyed and frustrated. My show for last night and tonight have been postponed due to the snowmageddon that is currently hitting the area. I totally get it, don’t get me wrong– it’s not safe to be on the roads– but I need a show. I guess checking out some new music will have to suffice so let’s dig into BANNISTER VOID’s new album, ‘Street Life’.
As soon as “Eagle Eye Firefly” took over my ears, my frustration fell to the wayside. This track has this rough quality to it that actually fits the classic rock n’ roll sound perfectly. There’s something timeless and classic about this song but also something quite catchy and fresh feeling. The vintage feeling vocals matched with the scratchy guitar playing seriously changed my mood in the most perfect way and I was so excited to see what the other nine tracks on this album would bring.
The scratchy almost retro feeling laid out in “Eagle Eye Firefly” continues into “Grain of Salt but, on this track, it was the lyrics that really caught me. They come through slightly clearer in this song than they did in the first track which really gave me a chance to catch the genius that is in the words. The phrases are poetic without trying. Much like my writing, it seemed a bit more stream of consciousness styled than really trying to be a song which I absolutely adored. Another thing I liked about this track is the fact that it has a sense of power to it but never feels rushed or anything like that. The intention behind every note, like every word, is clear.
Just when I was getting super into the old-school vibe of BANNISTER VOID, “Shiny Red Pennies” introduces an almost electronic quality to the sound. At first, it caught me off guard but, as this song continued on, I realized just how well this sound blends into the overall feeling of the style. There is something ridiculously catchy about the chorus of this song making it one of those tracks that will surely get stuck in your head even on first listen.
The title track, “Street Life” is the fourth track on this album and brings into the picture an almost ballad-like grunge style to the vocals. Although the vocals and instrumentation (and overall recording style) is still clearly that of BANNISTER VOID, there’s something just a bit more delicate about this song and something ever so slightly grungy about it. Again, I loved the balance of power in this track. There are moments throughout the song where I could see some bands getting out of hand with speed and aggression but BANNISTER VOID keeps things cool, calm and collected in a perfect way.
“I’ll Be Allright” is absolutely my favorite track on this album. It has a bit more chutzpah to the energy than the previous tracks but still doesn’t come off as overly aggressive or anything like that. It just comes off as having that perfect amount of angst that helped me get my aggression out. This song reminded me a bit of The Pink Spiders from back in the day but it has more of a classic and almost aged vibe to it . Typically when I call a song aged or dated, it’s a bad thing but that’s not the case here. I really want to chalk up this “old” feeling to the recording style but it could also be the music itself– regardless, it’s something that makes BANNISTER VOID, well, BANNISTER VOID so I am absolutely here for it.
That grunge-styled vibe I got in “Shiny Red Pennies” comes back ever so slightly for “Half Dead” but the band also brings in a sense of a more traditional indie rock band. It’s far from a cliche song from a cliche band and I don’t think I’ll be hearing this on the radio any time soon (which is a shame) but it just had a more accessible vibe to it that I could see a lot of people who claim they don’t really care about music getting into. I was super into “Half Dead” and got a bit lost and barely caught the shift into “Mister Shivers” had it not been for the infectious chorus of this track, I probably would have missed “Mister Shivers” altogether but, again, that’s not a bad thing. BANNISTER VOID has such a distinct sound and style that it’s so easy to just get lost in it trying to figure out what makes it so damn good.
“Zoner ” and “Marnie Green” continue with more of the same sound and, much like that transition from “Half Dead” into “Mister Shivers”, I feel like I kind of just spaced out as these two songs played. That’s a cool quality for such a powerful sound to have. Although it’s undeniably full of life and passion, it’s easy to just kind of drift off when listening to the music. It’s not that you’re tuning it out, more that it just fits life so perfectly with the ebbs and flows throughout the songs.
‘Street Life’ ends with “Chaos Queen”. Although this song is a bit calmer than I wanted for a final track, I really liked how it seemed to bring this album full circle and kind of let you off the hook at the end. That’s not to say you don’t want to go back and listen to this album again and dig into other material from BANNISTER VOID, more that it just ends the story that is ‘Street Life’ is a perfect way.
My Favorite Track(s): “I’ll Be Allright”
For Fans Of: Grunge tendencies; Retro feeling music; Fuzzy guitars and scratchy vocals
Mosh-ability: 4 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: All three cats slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7.9 out of 10
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Check Out ‘Street Life’ HERE!
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