BNQT – Volume 1 – Album Review
BNQT – a new indie super-group conceived and led by Eric Pulido of Midlake, will release of their debut album Volume 1 on 28th April via Bella Union.
First all, let’s clear something up. For those struggling with the name, it’s pronounced as banquet, despite the absence of vowels. Who needs vowels anyway, they’re quite outdated!
Yes, a new super-group has arrived on the scene, with powers to dazzle mortal men! It contains heavy weights such as Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses, Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, Fran Healy of Travis, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, along with main man Pulido (Midlake). There is something democratic about this union though, egos have been left at the door in favour of a fairer approach. They each get two tracks to dazzle the audience! I guess it stops them fighting.
The band was conceived by Pulido who wanted to create a space for artists and friends to collaborate. “That’s what art is about for me,” Pulido says, “creating with other people that you love and appreciate.” The rest of Midlake are also involved with McKenzie Smith (drums), Joey McClellan (guitar) and Jesse Chandler (keys) featuring. Volume 1 was recorded and produced mostly at Midlake’s studio in Denton, Texas.
The first single Restart was written by Pulido of Midlake and starts with typical muddy guitar. Unlikely Force takes an abrupt side step, as Bridwell of Band of Horses gives us a chirpy piano ballad, complete with horn section and summer vibe. 100 Million Miles is by Jason Lytle of Grandaddy and after an interesting introduction, it settles into another upbeat tune with dreamy vocals and jaunty guitar line. Mind Of A Man is written by Fran Healy, who isn’t an obvious choice for this grouping. It’s a swirling song with a guitar undercurrent. The last to take their turn is Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand who gives us ‘Hey Banana’, a love song to fruit, featuring lyrics like ‘I love you, I love you Banana’.
As they start the homeward journey, we get Real Love by Pulido who provides a 70s style pop song, with layered vocals and horns. Jason Lytle’s ‘Failing at Feeling’ gives us a moment’s reflection. L.A. On My Mind (by Healy) is an epic air punching chart topper, and quite unusual for the album overall. Tara by Bridwell is a fun upbeat guitar driven song. Fighting The World by Kapranos is a slow keyboard track to end the album.
The movement from one song to the next can be quite curious. While the band is technically the same, the different arrangements and singing voices give each a different feel. There is a lack of cohesion as different songs pull in opposite directions making it feel more like a compilation than a single album. That said, it’s hard to argue with the quality on display and they’re all having fun. If you’re a fan of any of the bands involved, it’s likely to perk your interest, although you will probably tend to enjoy some tracks more than others, depending on your unique prejudices! Now all this new super-group needs is a team of supper villains to battle with…
Tracklist + (who sings what)
1. Restart – Pulido
2. Unlikely Force – Bridwell
3. 100 Million Miles – Lytle
4. Mind Of A Man – Healy
5. Hey Banana – Kapranos
6. Real Love – Pulido (+ Bridwell & Kapranos on bv’s)
7. Failing at Feeling – Lytle
8. L.A. On My Mind – Healy
9. Tara – Bridwell
10. Fighting The World – Kapranos