Friday, July 17, 2009

review: RX Bandits Mandala & southern tour dates

mp3: RX Bandits "My Lonesome Only Friend"

RX Bandits,
Sargent House, 2009
July 14, 2009
RX Bandits interview at Decider:Austin.
(RX Bandits southern tour dates at end)

It's more than appropriate that the new RX Bandits' album is out with Sargent House, the label from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of Mars Volta fame. Because let's be honest here, in a lot of ways the RX Bandits have created a more laid-back Mars Volta, complete with some prog rock stylings and complicated guitar work. Having basically dropped all the horns and ska-fluence (um, there are a couple of lounge-like horn parts), The RX Bandits have emerged as an electronic noodling/prog/post-punk amalgamate that only the Volta kids or Coheed and Cambria possibly could top.

Old fans might miss the pop-punk, but that's late 20th century Cali, not early 21st century Cali. Hints of this might be on past songs like "One Hundred Miles Per Hour, Fast Asleep" with its math-rock break down, but this is a change, plain and simple. Really, even the reggae/dub influence has morphed more into salsa grooves then into a steaming hot riffs, like electrified bottle rockets erupting from a flamenco dancer, such as on "Mientras La Veo Sonar" The most frenetic is "Hope is A Butterfly, No Net Its Captor" slams down piercing salsa grooves in the intro and verses then bursts into a chorus of garage-rock hyper excitement.

It works like an excellent, but unexpected Christmas present--some uncertainty at first, but then it grows. The song construction is leaps ahead of any projects. With Mandala, the band seems to have let everything go, including comprehensible song structure and identity. There are recognizable lines and choruses, but really only thrown in as identifying marks. Just like a host of teenage bands that try and survive into their 20s and late 20s, RX Bandits have made some calculated moves. But Mandala isn't a misstep, it's right where the RX Bandits need to be.

[Southern tour dates & vid after the jump...]

RX Bandits w/ Zechs Marquise
July 18 New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues

July 20 Orlando, FL @ Club Firestone

July 22 Ft Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room

July 23 Jacksonville, FL @ Freebird Live

July 24 St Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Landing

July 25 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade

July 26 Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle

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