Album Review: BNLX’s BNLX #7 EP

BNLX

BNLX #7

Susstones Records

Release Date: August 28, 2012

Track Listing

  1. See What I See
  2. Meet Me on the Barricades
  3. Round the Dial
  4. Video Games
  5. See What I See (clean)

Personnel

“Organic Members”

Ed “E.A.” Ackerson – vocals, guitar, programming

Ashley “A.A.” Ackerson – vocals, bass

David “D.J.” Jarnstrom – drums

P.D. Larsen – visuals

“Inorganic Members”

Knobby – beats

Blinky – visuals

At the end of 2010, the Minneapolis, MN-based BNLX emerged under a cloud of mystery regarding who – or what – was in the band. And with a bit of mischievous glee, the two original members, Ed Ackerson and Ashley Ackerson identified themselves with acronyms and in some cases even pseudonyms in their press materials. I’ve heard that in some of the band’s promotional videos, they had gone out of their way to obscure their faces beyond recognition. In some small way it was done as a heady but playful joke, as well as allowing the music to speak for itself. Granted, such things have been done countless times over with varying degrees of success. But as the band has released a regularly scheduled EP every three months or so, the veil has slowly been lifted to reveal the band – albeit with their peculiar sense of humor. (Seriously, read their website. It reads as a cross between an economic white paper and revolutionary manifesto, and it’s just fucking funny.)

   The August release of their 7th EP in the series, smartly titled BNLX #7 appears to quite possibly be the last of the series, as the band announced that they will be releasing a full-length effort sometime during the fall. So in a way, this release serves as a bit of a preliminary taste into what their full length may well sound like, while also being a subtle expansion sonically. In fact, BNLX #7 has a lot of similarities to that of its predecessor, BNLX #6 as both are extremely melodic and draw a lot from 80s New Wave and pop. I couldn’t help thinking of the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Psychedelic Furs, the Stone Roses and acts like that. It doesn’t mean that the songs don’t burn and buzz: “See What I See” “Meet Me on the Barricades” and “Round the Dial” could easily have been on any of the band’s previous releases. “Round the Dial” in particular has a punk rock thrash to it that makes me want to jump around every time I hear it. Oddly, “Barricades” seems particularly poignant in light of all the protests and demonstrations that went on over the summer in New York – personally I was reminded of the testy exchanges between Occupy Wall Street demonstrators and cops in Times Square, Bryant Park, and Union Square. Whether that was intentional or not, I’ll probably never know but the song just feels as though it were directly inspired by the political climate. “Video Games,” is not just the best song on the EP, it may well be one of the best songs they’ve recorded in recent memory. What both BNLX #6 and #7 reveal is a band whose sound is growing more complex and at times more subtle. It’ll be interesting to see how that develops on their full-length.

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