Put on your headphones, press play, and surrender yourself to the sonics of Bane’s World. I promise that whatever you’re doing will become ten times more mystical and contemplative, even if it’s the dishes. Side-effects may include feeling like you’re a troubled protagonist in a cult classic.
Apart from being my latest interest in the ethereal land of indie dream pop, Bane’s World are a five piece hailing from Long Beach California, with West-Coast-Vibes written all over their music. There is little deviation from flanger-fuelled riffs and synth-scapes in this discography. To be upfront, look elsewhere if this does not enthuse you; this band are nothing if not ambient.
Aptly named debut album Drowsy came out in June last year, and we’ve been graced with the single “You Say I’m In Love” this year, but it’s early days. As far as I can tell, Bane’s World are currently unsigned, and part of that lovely DIY-indie progression building a fanbase out of Bandcamp and bedrooms. Originally a solo act trapped in suburbia, they’re branching out, accumulating humans and squashing on to the lineups of festivals. You heard it here first.
The relative irrelevance (sorry) of this band as of yet makes me excited about the depth of quality in new music at the moment. Shane Blanchard (singer/possibly the whole band) is clearly a skilled guitarist, but what strikes me throughout his album is the range of styles he manages to incorporate under the shoe-gazer cloak of delay and reverb.
For instance, the percussion on “Ain’t No Home” and the first twenty seconds of “Still Lovely” sound like some sort of psychedelic Bossa-nova (which I promise is better in reality than in concept).
Title track “Drowsy” is delightfully bluesy, with a lazy bass line and crooning interplay between chorused vocals and guitar. The outro intimates at jazz influences. “You Bet I Stare” feels like surf-rock; possibly if the Beach Boys were reserved wallflowers this is what they would sound like.
The subject matter checks out too: Blanchard seems content to use girl trouble as a main source of lyrical inspiration. I would argue this is unoriginal, but the fact is it’s a bit irrelevant because I can only make out half of the words through the gloopy effects anyway.
It’s debatable whether gloop is a word, but it’s still quite an evocative way to describe the texture of “This Place I’ll Be”. But just when you’ve got the album sussed, there’s “Valentine’s Curse” – which could be infant Depeche Mode – and “Dream Boat”, a Real Estate style song if you listened to it under water. Thus, I do think this appearance of homogenous dream-pop is deceptive.
I’m not going to ignore the easy parallels between newcomers Bane’s World and stalwarts like Mac Demarco, for instance. But potentially brilliant bands being second guessed in their early days due to the unsurprising fact that they are yet to hone an original sound is frustrating. I’d say that everybody should be permitted an album, or a couple years, to iron out the kinks and create an identity. The Beatles’ Hamburg period would be the ultimate case in point here.
The diversity of sounds hidden away on this unassuming set of songs is the thing that makes Bane’s World so interesting – combined with a real feel of the self-made, authentic Californian guitar music. It’s a pleasing pairing, and hopefully it’s an indicator that Bane’s World will be headed in exciting new directions. And yet, even if it isn’t, surely Mac Demarco is good enough that we wouldn’t mind a spare?
Words by Immy Hequet