The Music Box: The Great Bandini, starring as The Great Bandini, in “The Great Bandini”

Track Listing:

  1. Maintain Relaxation
  2. Rubber Knives
  3. Are You In Love With Him?
  4. Anyone To Blame
  5. I’m Supposed To Know
  6. One And One
  7. This Side Is Ours
  8. No Reply
  9. Testa Mia
  10. Angela
  11. Sleep Through The Summer

Release Date: 6/22/08

The Band: Next time you go to a show don’t let the front man suck up all your attention with his wild antics and gaudy clothing because although it may come as a surprise, more often than not, it’s the hero waiting in the dimly lit wings that possesses the most musical ability.  Don’t believe me?  Take a listen to this Bostonian four-piece from the heart of harbor, comprised of the unsung, unheralded, and completely talented.  These four former, well, sidemen from different Boston based bands came together in 2005 as a side-project, performing their first few shows under the name The Sidemen.  After two years of shows it became evident that this “side-project” had evolved into something worthy of a full-length album.  With recording sessions came a name change and these pop-rocking renegades dubbed themselves The Great Bandini.

The Review: Here’s the deal, I am not a musician by trade.  In senior year of high school I dabbled with the trombone in hopes of starting a Ska band but nothing ever came of it.  However, I do sing on “expert” in Rock Band video games.  In my opinion there is nothing better on the ears than a good singing voice and whenever listening to new music, I find my opinion is heavily based on the vocal performance.  So if you are wondering what I love about The Great Bandini, simply put, everybody in the band has a set of platinum coated iron lungs.

This quadrupiped (warning: quadrupiped is not an actual word) collective exhibits its vocal prowess on its self-titled debut’s opening number, “Maintain Relaxation,” the entire song a four-minute harmonization party and one of many Power-Pop anthems found on this 11-track collection.

The Great Bandini is fronted by Eric Barlow, the lead vocalist and one half of a jangly sounding guitar tandem that is completed by Scott Janovitz.  Chris Zembrower on the bass and Matt Burwell banging the drums makes up the rhythm section.

Here is what I’m getting at:  We have two jangly guitar players and a bassist that love to harmonize, a drummer that doesn’t really exert himself, and a band with the ability to pump out ultra-catchy Pop-Rock songs.  The description brings to mind a group of mop tops that got its start across the pond playing tiny clubs in Liverpool?  Don’t get me wrong, The Great Bandini is not quite bigger than Jesus, but could definitely give Moses a run for his frankincense.

There is a huge Beatles influence heard throughout this album and you have to listen no further than the finest piece of cabbage in the patch, “Are You In Love With Him?” a song complete with multi-part harmonies, a twangy guitar duel, and a wailing chorus you’ll sing for days.  The difference between the Fab Four and the Dandy Bandini is The Beatles wrote about holding her hand, while these Beantowners write about her grasping his.

The Great Bandini is solid from the nose to the toes.  Every song has something intoxicating about it that keeps me going back to the well.  I defy you not to enjoy this record.

The Rating: [–] [–] [–] [–] [--]

“Maintain Relaxation”

“Are You In Love With Him?”

About rote7123

Chris graduated from The College Of New Jersey in May 2011 with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism and Professional Writing, as well as a degree in Communication Studies. He has held down a position in the Asbury Park Press’ Sports Department since September of 2010 and is a contributor to the outlet's Arts & Entertainment section, and has contributed to The Aquarian Weekly all while being the sole operator of Asbury Park's premier music news outlet Speak Into My Good Eye.
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2 Responses to The Music Box: The Great Bandini, starring as The Great Bandini, in “The Great Bandini”

  1. Sheil says:

    Can you explain what rating system you’re using for these Music Box reviews? All three albums have gotten five “somethings”, but they’ve all been different symbols. Is there some deeper, inner meaning that I’m not understanding? Do these symbols actually represent other symbols, which represent ideas that act as a higher representation of what an album rating actually is? Is this satirical of album reviews in general? Am I asking too many questions?

  2. rote7123 says:

    None of my symbols are anything other than five “things.” They don’t mean anything. There is no hidden Da Vinci Code situation occurring here. I just haven’t figured out how to shade half of a star, or get a formidable star, on my keyboard, so I have to improvise with the symbols. I’ll just use numbers from now on.

    And the reason all the ratings have been so high is because I really do enjoy the albums I’ve found so far. I wasn’t expecting to find so much music that I liked from such a random source. I’m sure I’ll come across something I absolutely despise sooner or later.

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