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Posted on October 4th, 2011 (3:04 pm) by Joseph Weathered

The Bandana Splits are retro girl group music done by singers Lauren Balthrop, Annie Nero and Dawn Landes. By retro, I mean RETRO. Like "Phil Spector waving around a loaded gun in a studio while the Ronettes sing the same hook over and over and over".

Dressed in the matching outfits that all the old girl groups wore, the Bandana Splits sing songs like "Sometimes" which is 2:32 minutes of one hook. Is that a good thing? It's probably something that is good right now but doesn't have a lasting appeal. It's not that the group doesn't write great songs; "Lavez Vous" is a definite side step from the girl group sound by using acoustic guitar and odd, well done lyrics. The problem is two fold:

1. It's so retro it sounds like a gimmick that people will be into (I can easily see hipsters greasing their hair and wearing loafers with the leather jacket), but also a gimmick that will die out so quickly. Every song, while different in tonal quality (lots of good singer songwriter stuff on here just melts into the 3-singer structure of the band) is just the same because the group has to stay within the retro gimmick.

2. They're not soulful. There's no identifying feeling of actual soul in the music, which doesn't help the fact that the group cites as influences a very loose category of "every 40's, 50's and 60's girl group." Instead of actually grabbing the feeling, the passion, the whole presentation behind doing this music, the band just sounds like they are doing covers while reading sheet music for it. "Desert Love" goes right into "You Don't Have to be a Baby to Cry" and they sound so robotic and same-y even though "Love" is beach music and "Cry" is country. Everything is retro, but nothing sounds like humans are playing it.

So my advice would be to go out and get "Mr. Sam Presents The Bandana Splits" and play it at a party if you have a lot of hipster friends. Put on "Hold On" at the end of watching an episode of "Mad Men" and re-score the credits. Go see them when they play live and wear your 1950s costume. If this is what you're going for, then by all means the album is perfect.

Track List:
1. Sometimes
2. Ricky Dee
3. Lavez Vous
4. Choo Choo
5. My Love
6. Desert Love
7. You Don't Have to be a Baby to Cry
8. Hold On
9. Stay if You Wanna
10. Baby Talkin' (The Shoo Wop Song)
11. Chemistry
12. All You Gotta Do is Fall in Love
13. Hawaiian Love Song

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Our Rating

50 / 100
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