Concept albums are old news, concept identities are where it’s at. Louise Chicoine is the agile voice behind the ‘fictional diva’ Banny Grove, an alter-ego constructed with guitarist/keyboardist Peter Nichols. The LA-based duo originally hail from Vermont, and while those roots make it tempting to look for any traces of a Phish-y sense of humor, their new Cars in Control EP is much more a product of, and response to, Southern California’s bright sprawling artifice.
Banny Grove debuted last year with an album that asked Who Is She?, but Cars in Control is more inclined to keep offering curious clues than answer such questions. The title track goes after “the oil man” with spare synthpop abstraction. “Baby” rides an unblinking combination of plucked harp and post-ironic autotune. “Trash Truck”, which is “sung from the optimistic perspective of a child living underground when the surface world is an unseen desert of garbage”, winds strands of Christmas lights around the Cure’s “Kyoto Song”. The EP is out August 8th via Nicey Music.