Aside from the totally rad album cover featuring a 19th century BRITISH (or maybe Welsh, but really, is there any difference and does anybody care) rifleman with a Goddamn BIRD for a head, “Bandolier” offers more of the same from Budgie’s classic era. And what we are talking here is rock n Goddamn roll in its truest form (aside from the quintessential enormously gay ballad “Slip Away”). Although Budgie sucked hard at ballads (seriously, “Squawk,” “In For The Kill,” and “Never Turn Your Back on a Friend” are all 5’s without hippie-esque love syrup fests that make Joni Mitchell sound like MC Goddamn 5), Burke Shelley and the other dudes laid down some of the tastiest 70’s hard rock this side of Thin Lizzy. The only difference is Budgie was more METAL and that probably makes them better, even if they weren’t as good of songwriters. It doesn’t really matter though because Budgie riffed hard and bluesy and quite frankly there isn’t anything ever invented in the history of the universe better than good riffs so automatically Budgie is probably one of the 20 best bands ever because RIFFS.
Anyway, “Bandolier” is a standard Budgie album only the songs are a bit longer, and the term standard in this sense means “unadulterated a$s-kicking. “I Can’t See My Feelings” is such a tremendously riff-tacular song that no other than Iron f*cking Maiden decided to cover it for a b-side to the single “From Here to Eternity,” and even if Stevie Harris and Adrian and Bruce and Eddie won’t admit it Budgie’s song is way better and should have been side-a. It’s an honor to have your riffs played by Adrian and Dave and to be on the same album cover as Eddie. For a British (ok Welsh, but who cares) dude like Burke, that’s kind of the modern day equivalent of gangbanging Keely Hazell and Lucy Pinder in a tub of bangers and mash and Newcastle. “I Aint No Mountain” is similar in structure to The James Gang’s “Funk #49,” with the exception that “Funk #49” sucks hard in comparison to it even though it’s a great song. It also kind of sounds like “Mississippi Queen” only about 13 times more badass if that’s even possible, and it is. “Breaking All the House Rules” is probably one of the best 500 openers in music history. The real gem here though is “Napoleon Bona Parts 1 and 2.” Although almost every non-ballad Budgie song is one of the best hard rock songs ever written, this is the one that really makes opposing guitar players dicks shrivel under the might of overpowering riffage. I’ll admit that the first part of the song is kind of a gay ballad but the other half is just a monstrous riff-tastic riff fest that is badass enough to overcome kinda-sorta gay chorus lyrics like “hold me.” It’s a jam though. Among a litany of hard jams, this is the hardest (the 2nd part) and might be Budgie’s hardest jam ever. In other words, you should get this and the three Budgie albums before it.