Review Summary: A return to form...sort of.
I felt like I was the only one who skeptical about RX Bandits reforming and writing a new album, to be honest. While ‘06’s (it’s cool to drop the “20” when referencing last decade, right") And The Battle Begun
showcased the band at their very best, weaving energy and creativity into their catchy and progressive take on rock and ska, I was let down by their more straight-forward follow-up Mandala
, which seemed overly bland and lacking catchiness in comparison. After a 5 year hiatus, the band is back with their 7th album, Gemini, Her Majesty
, but does the band make the comeback worthwhile"
was as tight and focused as the band’s ever been musically, the biggest flaw of the album was the gigantic lack of hooks to keep the listener coming back for more; one could marvel at the showcase of talent displayed by the band, but their attempts and lack of any meaningful hook dampened the experience. Gemini, Her Majesty
sees the band returning to their straight-forward musical approach, but thankfully, also puts an emphasis on catchy choruses, something the album has in spades. “Wide Open”, one of the album’s shorter cuts, “Fire To The Ocean” and “Meow! Meow! Space Tiger” features funky off-kilter guitars and memorable choruses, “Stargazer” is more aggressive with great falsetto-laden vocals, and “1995” and “Future, Buddy” harkens Bandits of old, with more rock-driven riffs and complex mathy sections (the ending of “1995” in particular is easily one of the album’s highlights). While I do miss the progressive, creative side of the band’s middle years that is general absent from this album, there are still are plenty of successful and worthwhile tracks to be found.
Everything is not a total success, however. Songs such as “Ruby Cumulous” and “Will You Be Tomorrow” suffer due to the lack of climax or meaningful hook, harkening back to the fatal flaw of Mandala
, and float aimlessly during their longer runtimes. And there’s songs like “G2G”, which start out terrifically and is carried by one of the album’s best chorus hooks, but slowly fades away during the last two minutes of the track without anything of interest happening. Gemini, Her Majesty
in a way seems to be personified by the problems of “G2G”: while the band has clearly found their spark again and is creating catchy music once more, their new-found laid-back approach keeps any sections of assertive, popping musical complexity firmly at bay, which is something that some songs are sorely needing to bring them to the next level.
Was it worth it to dust themselves off and come back for another go" Absolutely. With RX Bandits being solid, dedicated musicians through and through, I took their “break-up” with a grain of salt anyhow, and bouncing back from their creative low-point of Mandala
puts the icing on the cake. It’s great and refreshing to see these guys make music again, and hopefully they keep churning out tunes in the future. Now, fellas, cough
how about some new Sounds Of Animals Fighting, hmm"