Electric Brick Wall | Black Bananas

By Wright Franklin
KRUA Music Manager

MI0003720874The title “Electric Brick Wall” nicely sums up the sound of the new album from former Royal Trux front woman Jennifer Herrema and her band, Black Bananas. The album at first comes across like an early 90’s rock/hip hop collaboration on a runaway train into the 2010’s. Not unlike Sleigh Bell’s darker druggie twin, Black Bananas uses a strange amalgamation of synthesizers, digital and analog drums, guitars and distorted and auto tuned vocals to create a grungy dance sound.

Black Bananas clearly also draws influence from bands like Crystal Castles on some of the songs, such as track 4, “Physical Emotions” creating a dirty party electronica sound. Where the album is at its weakest is actually when it strays too far into the rock side of the album on songs like “Hey Rockin” and “Highway Down”, which play out like bad Girl Talk mash-ups, minus the well known instrumentals and vocals. On the flip side of this, tracks like “Eve’s Child” and “Give It To Me”, that embrace the funky electro weirdness and cheesy synthesizers somehow tap into a vein which seems to work.

“Creepin The Line” is far and away the best song on the album. The crawling, pulsy groove of the song with the eerie vocoder over the top of it evokes rock meets Prince-era slow jams with a dash of Daft Punk or Justice. Yes, I realize that was a super weird description. This and “Physical Emotions” are definitely stand out tracks in an album that is, for lack of a better description, just quirky as hell. The main issue with the album is that it can’t really decide what it wants to be. Instead of making a rock, club, electro, punk or dance album, Black Bananas went ahead and made them all, ending up with a sound you have to hear for yourself to comprehend. And with a few exceptions, it actually worked fairly well.

7/10

Track List:

1. Powder 8
2. Dope On An Island
3. Hey Rockin
4. Physical Emotions
5. Highway Down
6. Eve’s Child
7. Ride The Chump
8. Give It To Me
9. Creepin The Line
10. Old Gold Chain
11. Bullshit And Lies

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