Photo: Albert Kuhne

Banditos – “Old Ways” (Singles Going Steady)

Brittany Howard, take a look in your rear view mirror, 'cause there's a new soul shouter in town.

Chris Ingalls: Wow. I need to get to the bar where this band is playing their next gig, kick back, order some really cheap beer, and have a ball. Soulful and kind of dark. Amazing instrumentation — lead guitar through a Leslie cabinet, a little banjo running through the whole song, and that singer. That singer! Brittany Howard, take a look in your rear view mirror, ’cause there’s a new soul shouter in town. [9/10]

Chad Miller: Seriously impressive vocals. Such a powerful melody really lets Mary Richardson’s voice fly as well. The vocals could probably mix better with some different instrumentation, but it’s not that noticeable. [8/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Banditos take after the old school blues rock sound of the ’70s. However, unlike their contemporaries (The Black Keys and the White Stripes come to mind), the band lacks a bit of originality in their music. Still, the group can make a hell of a song, and the female lead vocalist gives even Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard a run for her money. [6/10]

Pryor Stroud: With a repeating bass step-guitar lash backbeat that knocks the soul back into your stomach, “Old Ways” is a bleeding-heart roots rock track that revels in the gritty, tremulous dynamics of Mary Richardson’s masterclass vocal performance. In the last minute and a half or so, she belts and pulverizes and strangles the sorry life out of notes like she believes that the more damage she does to them, the faster she can heal her lover’s black and blue, scar-tissued heart. Yet, for all its force and can’t-stop-itself momentum, the song is ultimately straightforward, just as simple and unadulterated as its singer’s affections. [6/10]

Jasper Bruce: I was at a gig recently where the support artist described blue-eyed soul as “basically the same as soul, except more shit” (excuse the language, I’m from Australia and so is he). The uproar of laughter which followed seemed to indicate that this is an accepted opinion. It’s refreshing, then, to know that there are blue-eyed soul artists out there offering a more considered style than this simple definition would lead you to believe. By that same token, “Old Ways” melts southern rock and blues flavours into the mix to remind us that new blue-eyed soul can be just as powerful as modern examples of its “less shit” counterpart. [8/10]

SCORE: 7.40