[25 February 2014]
Family bluegrass sextet the Bankesters do a lot of things right on their debut album for Compass Records, Love Has Wheels. Sisters Melissa, Alysha and Emily are backed up by their parents and a slew of guests, including Sierra Hull and Rob Ickes, to deliver a mixed set of uptempo stompers, slower introspective tunes, gospel-inflected devotionals and more besides. Opening track “Love Has Wheels” has just about everything you want in a bluegrass tune, including irrepressibly jaunty twanging and lovely vocals courtesy of Melissa and Emily. Alysha contributes her own sweetly hushed vocals on “I Gotta Have You”, while everybody pitches in on the bluesy-gospel closer “Rise Up”. “I Gotta Have You” is notable also for its bass-heavy blues vibe, while the original tune “Found”, a tribute to wounded veterans, is one of only two original songs on the record. Let’s hope there are more in the future. This is the Bankesters’ fifth career album, and their easy confidence permeates every track. A strong showing indeed.