Sunday, June 10, 2012


Honest, passionate and uncompromising. Banga marks a very welcome return for Patti Smith and her band (Lenny Kaye, Jay Dee Daugherty and Tony Shanahan). This is her first collection of new music since 2004. It's absolutely without a doubt her best since 1997's Peace And Noise. These are some stunningly well-crafted songs, most of them not as 'punk rock' as you'd think; April Fool (with Tom Verlaine on guitar), Maria, Mosaic, the epic haunting mediation of Constantine's Dream, which slowly builds up to an orgasmic climax amidst a sea of moving poetry and storytelling. There are also heartfelt tributes; the soul ballad, This Is The Girl in memory of Amy Winehouse, Nine dedicated to Johnny Depp (the guitars are just plain fucking awesome), the uplifting anthem, Fuji-San for the victims of the Japan earthquake last year. They're all very intimate, very in-your-face. Finally, After The Gold Rush is possibly the greatest song I've heard Patti Smith cover. It couldn't be sung any simpler than how she sings it, but the conviction she brings to it is tenfold. There are really no words to describe it. It's so goddamn beautiful. It's so pure. She made it her own. Believe or explode. 

Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 21st Century.

Patti talks about her record in this short film directed by Steven Sebring, who also did her documentary, Dream Of Life [link]. It's more or less a summary of the album's detailed liner notes.