Thursday, April 27, 2017

BNQT - Volume 1

So it seems the soft-rock mid-70s are well and truly back, with bands like Midlake, Fleet Foxes etc, but not only that we have a supergroup in the shape of BNQT.  It's really a project led by Midlake's Eric Pulido, Jason Lytle from Grandaddy, Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses and, a little incongruously, Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand and Fran Healy of Travis.  With each singer being given 2 songs each this could have come across an incoherent mess but, anchored by Midlake as the backing band it gels together well.  Pulido opens up with the propulsive, catchy Restart.  Bridwell's relaxed, borderline cheesy Unlikely Force follows.  It's like something ripped straight out of Crosby Stills and Nash's 70s songbook and it works really well, Bridwell singing "you and me make such an unlikely force" with gorgeous harmonies from the other singers.  The track is so evocative you'll feel your trousers flaring and your hair growing longer.  100 Million Miles has the cosmic essence of Lytle's band Grandaddy with strings to give it added grace.  Healy's Mind of A Man is takes a heavy spoonful of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours with a tempo and atmosphere that conjures up that band's Dreams.  Kapranos sounds a bit out of place on the oddly titled Hey Banana, neither gelling totally with the band nor sounding particularly distinct.  That's not to say the track doesn't work, it just comes up short in comparison to what precedes it.  The poppy and upbeat Real Love is more of a band effort, featuring what sounds like all singers.  In fact the second half of the album is less impressive than the first, Lytle's plodding Failing at Feeling is practically MOR, while the Stones-lite of Healy's L.A. On My Mind, Bridwell's foul-mouthed yet chirpy Tara and Kapranos' slow-burning keyboard don't really ignite.

Definitely recommended for fans of Midlake, or any of the bands referenced above.