I needed music tonight, and I needed something new. As I drove home in the early-morning hours, cruising at the kinda speed that says to the world: I just don't give a fuck anymore, my brain was spinning. I felt the very worst of betrayals coercing through my veins. Someone I've known all my life, my blood, stabbed me in the back. I felt so sad it hurt, I felt helpless, and I was pissed. I was also heart-broken. I told this person everything, and I told them everything because they always said they would never judge me for it, and never count it against me. I gave them my heart, and they treated it like a stranger. I wanted to scream, punch somebody, do anything to kill the hatred brewing in my mind. Then I thought about the people who've stuck beside me when the darkness surrounded us, and when I needed them most. I thought about the people who chose to believe in me when innuendo and controversy swirled around my name (as a dear friend in the industry recently described it). I thought about a particular person, someone who's shown me the true power of friendship, and what real connection can do for my soul. I thought about all these blessings in my life, and it felt like the light of their kindnesses blasted away the hated that was filling my heart. But I didn't get to that place alone. I needed music for that. I knew I couldn't reach for something I knew. This feeling I was wresting with felt like a fresh wound. I needed a new release fix. I think my friends are getting sick of me saying there's no such thing as coincidence. Well, BANNERS only showed me that I have no choice but to believe that shit.
From the first few notes of "Start A Riot" it felt like I found precisely what I needed. When the drums dropped, it just felt damn good to be alive. And when his shiny vocals came-in I felt like the song was written for me and a friend. With powerful lyrics like "I will burn this city down for a diamond in the dust" - "I will keep you safe and sound when there's no-one left to trust" framed in a chorus of "If your world falls apart, I'd start a riot" flowing over airy guitars and steady beats; the song blasted from my JL Audio system, lighting my Mini up like the sunrise came outta nowhere in the middle of the night. "Uplifting is an understatement. This catchy lil' tune wrapped it's poppy soul around my heart and soul and I could've hit the repeat button a hundred times. I love it when I find a new song that does that to me. Especially when the tune is wholly organic; actual living, breathing musicians and singers performing the music. For me, and I love electronic music, there's nothing as powerful as a group of people who create music that's gripping and blissful. BANNERS have a winning formula on this EP. "Shine A Light" has the same attractive, catchy bright pop sensibilities. The music is as the title suggests. Now, I've written about my distaste for the over-classification and homogenization of music - but its also the perils of this job. So if I had to give someone a few words to describe BANNERS I'd say it's a pop group that sounds like hope via acoustic instruments. They paint these magnificent crescendos of soaring guitars, voices, and emotively charged drumming. "Gold Dust" is the kinda song that makes me wanna hop in my whip for a sunset (or rise) Mulholland Drive cruise and bump the music as the light shoots across the morning sky - driving like there ain't no tomorrow. Like there's somewhere I needed to be days ago, but I've been distracted by the noise and stresses of the every-day. I discovered BANNERS on Spotify hours ago on the ride home, (admittedly listening via TIDAL ever since) and while it's only a five song EP I can't stop listening to it. I maybe in a more vulnerable place than usual, given the trials and tribulations of the day, but isn't that what good music is for? One of the things I love most about music is its ability to transport me elsewhere, and instead of just leaving it abstracted like that, I'll go further and say I'm talking about my state of mind. Don't you love that about music? How it can actually impact your mood, for better or for worse at times!
BANNERS is plugged directly into the vein of the emotive power of music. Pop music, sure - they're not Stravinsky, and who the fuck cares. Listening to this bands music makes me want to accomplish something, or, frankly, give a friend a damn hug. It's mushy and shiny, and it's powerful too. It's got balls and it's gentle as well. They've got this soulful acoustic vibe, but with so much heart it kills me. This is the sort of music you hear at that high point of an emotional roller-coaster ride of a dramatic film: When the protagonist has that life-changing realization that life's gonna be OK, no matter what madness has imprisoned them. And can't we all relate to that? Well, not all obviously. I mean, this may not be your thing - but I can't stop listening to this damn EP! It's infected me. So instead of sulking and feeling so serious right now - I'm listening to BANNERS thinkin': Do I really have it that bad? I could be a shoeless child on the streets of Calcutta. I got people I love more than I ever thought possible. I got music like this, and hope for the future. Instead of droppin' "highly recommended" I'll say that BANNERS got me throwing my arms up, with tears in my eyes, thinkin' I'd start a riot for the people I love. And how bad can that be?