Words: James Frostick
Band images: Jamie Wdziekonski
Melbourne’s Bananagun are dropping a brand-new 7” featuring some colourful examples of their 60s-inspired jazz-psych. ‘Do Yeah’ and ‘Top Cat’ shows the group’s expertise in not only recreating the sounds of their inspirations and precursors, but cunningly avoiding making it sound dated or rehashed.
When drawing upon styles from the past, there’s a fine line between making them work in a contemporary setting and superficially rehashing them in a derivative sense – adding nothing new, a hollow tribute. To be absolutely clear from the jump, Bananagun fit in the first category, which is great, because too many groups get bogged down in doing justice to the sound of previous generations while completely forgetting to add something novel to the end result. For those not yet in the know, the Melbourne quintet is an outfit known for crafting expressive and vibrant jazz-tinged psych, the kind of brash composition that encompasses wholly – a textured and lush product from a group of musicians who wear their influences proudly, but are intent on harnessing the sonic palette of the greats to better suit a modern context.
The group has crafted a sunny 7” release featuring two tracks that exemplify the group’s deft ability to avoid sketchy pastiche. The songs – ‘Do Yeah’ and ‘Top Cat’ – see the band using a host of instruments to create a high-definition, full-colour imagining of ‘freakadelic’ revelry. ‘Do Yeah’ in particular harnesses a free-form spirit into a tight sub-three minute bop. Full-band chants, pops of hyperactive drumming and tastefully scorched guitar tones (as if warped slightly by the sun) create a near-hypnotic mixture – a dynamic pulse is pumping life to each extremity. ‘Top Cat’ starts in a more subdued manner – a woozy introduction gets blasted to the fringes by some robust horns. This track offers a sturdier base, and one can pick up vocalised musings on fragile egos and the malignant nature of modern machismo. Although the pitfalls of retro-inspired creativity will follow the group from release to release, this 7” proves the group’s got the talent to avoid superficiality and navigate the obstacles while penning a noteworthy chapter on the evolution of the 60s psych sound.
The 7” will be released physically on February 15th on Anti Fade Records. Bananagun will be performing on January 19 alongside Laguna, Phlo and Kaipora.