RX Bandits

Gemini, Her Majesty

Written by: PP on 18/09/2014 18:18:47

Progressive third wave ska band RX Bandits have been quiet on the studio album front for the past five years since the release of the massively disappointing "Mandala" that in no way lived up to the monstrous expectations left behind by genre classic "...And The Battle Begun" from 2006. They stopped touring, reported in interviews that they were taking a break, and all signs pointed towards RX Bandits calling it a day for good. They've since then said those interviews were misinterpreted and what they really meant was that they needed some time off to concentrate on their respective lives, which is why we're here today with their seventh studio album "Gemini, Her Majesty".

To start out with, let's just say it's a whole lot better than "Mandala" from the get go. The songwriting has taken a few steps back from overtly experimental record that had more in common with The Mars Volta than their closest peers sound wise, Catch 22. The instrumental wankery has been modified to resemble "...And The Battle Begun" a little more, meaning it's still intricate and complex in its nature, but this time without forgetting that the song has to have a point as well. This translates to wonderfully complicated songs like "Stargazer" and "Fire To The Ocean" that spend lengthy times in traversing the progressive and experimental extremes of ska music in general, but also remember to keep up a good tempo and deliver a great chorus in the process. There are plenty such examples on this record, including "Meow! Meow! Space Tiger" and even album closer "Future, Buddy".

Unfortunately, there are also songs where the band experiment far too much with their soundscape. Will You Be Tomorrow", "G2G" are two such examples right in the middle of the album that try to build a mood and an atmosphere, and fall out of line compared to the progressive third wave ska we've been treated to so far on the album. These songs are almost jazzy in their nature, and while surely interesting musical experiences for the band themselves, offer very little of interest to the listener. Simply put, they are boring songs, which was the recurring theme throughout "Mandala". The good news is that these types of tracks are kept to the minimum this time around, ensuring a good listening experience overall. That being said, we're still decisively far away from the intellectual and challenging music presented on "...And The Battle Begun", which didn't let the listener down at any stage and always managed to impress with its complicated, yet catchy rhythmic textures. Here, the band improves from the lackluster "Mandala", but not enough to reach the higher grades. Fans of progressive ska unites should be checking this out, though.


Download: Stargazer, Fire To The Ocean, Meow! Meow! Space Tiger
For the fans of: Catch 22, Mrs Skannotto, Streetlight Manifesto
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.07.2014
MDB Records

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