Review || Bandage - "Build"

Bandage is a band that I've been familiar with and appreciating for many years now. Seemingly, their pop punk sound wouldn't be something that I would resort in, yet, they always struck a cord with their musicianship. I received "Build" quite a few months ago and was asked to provide an honest opinion on it. I delved into it without blinders or biases -you see, when you are somewhat close to an artist, it can be difficult to separate them from their art and judge them on a completely objective basis. However, this wasn't the case for Bandage. We recently got to have a very lengthy chat, where they explained all that went into the making of this album and everything, from the mental approach to the actual production, fell into place.

"Build" comes a mere 5 years after the band's debut album, "North By Northeast", out May 3rd 2019. It contains 11 tracks, all fitting the modern punk rock attitude of the band. Is it just a continuation of their previous work? Well, not quite. "Build" varies on many levels as it strays from the beaten path and subtly takes on a different direction. It is honest but not entirely raw; it is emotional and more personal, intimate yet still burly. The listener is immediately put in this mindset with the opening title track where the cinematic intro leads to a catchy build-up and the band's instrumental introduction. The following song, "On A Sunday", is more straight-forward and feels like a kick in the teeth. In all this whirlwind of creativity, it keeps a perfect balance between the ups and downs of the songs, not once being overwhelming. While certain tunes carry a crafty melancholic undertone, still without becoming whiny at any point, others pick up the tempo and will have you air drumming. You may also notice a modest The Story So Far influence here and there, seamessly blending with the different hues and elements. 

Halfway through, it becomes evident that change here is the only constant. The songs flow without following a strict rhythmic pattern and I'm genuinely amazed at how the album never fails to keep the nerve or dynamic disposition of the tracks, even when they slow down. The angst, the hurt and the feelings are always manifesting one way or another and you can't but flow atop this rollercoaster of emotions. If I had to pick favorites, those would probably be "Belong", which stole my heart upon the first spin, "Settlers", with its bright tune and captivating harmonies and "Patient" which, along with the final track, "Touch The Ceiling", hit home.

Overall, the thought and work that went into this album are obvious, just as the fact that Bandage is in a linear trajectory. The band is more focused, more mature, but the material remains fresh and inspired. The shift in the direction is noticeable yet not once does it feel foreign, experimental or forced. On the contrary, the band has embraced the change and the risk paid off. "Build" is the natural step forward from "North By Northeast" and the chemistry of the members is a testament to that. The album has substance and identity, it is well-rounded and just as polished as it should. It is different yet it is more Bandage than ever.
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