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If You Buy One Album Out This Week, Make It…

Banditos – Banditos

Ah sweet home Alabama, where the skies are so blue, and it’s virtually impossible to grow up without ingesting a certain quota of country music. For Banditos, whose self-titled debut we’re currently wired up to, this heritage provides an expressive base from which to test the boundaries of rootsy music. Varied colours might be involved (from punk to boogie and bluegrass) but there’s a cosily familiar twang behind it all – one that conjures up visions of guys with proper untamed 'man beards' and Stetsons, playing banjos on porches.

Not entirely dissimilarly to Nashville trio The Cadillac Three, Banditos like their countrified stuff a little harder. It’s telling that they used to play in heavier bands, and that all grew up going to hardcore punk and metal gigs in their native Birmingham, AL. True, Banditos is clearly not ‘metal’, but the underlying grit involved lends spark and heft to their Creedence Clearwater Revival-edged fusion. Even the rootin’ tootin’, Johnny Cash and June Carter-rivalling bounce of Waitin’ powers forward like a proper rock’n’roll train (albeit driven by a particularly smiley cowboy). And for all its Delta spirit and loveable doo-wop touches, the zingy vocals and electrified guitar flourishes of Long Gone, Anyway stop things getting sleepy.

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