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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