Seven years after forming, Banned Books have cooked up their debut LP which, by their own admission, is “utterly bombastic".
You can tell that this Philadelphia outfit had fun recording their debut album. The low-fi sound combined with lumbering, cymbal-focused drum beats are a few hallmarks of the band's experimental mindset. The frontman's dreamy vocal style brings to mind the work of Pavement, so too do the disjointed guitar grooves that the band drop on almost every track. To that end, as the album goes on, the band doesn't really seem to offer anything new. The loyalty they show to their distinct sound is admirable, and even if you're not a fan, it's at least interesting. I can't help but feel, however, that this record isn't going to win you over unless you're already a fan of noise rock. Successful at what they set out to do? Certainly. Clever at combining a garage rock aesthetic with an experimental, dreamy sound? Absolutely. But accessible? I'm not so sure. In any case, Banned Books certainly deserve an outpouring of approval from fans of this kind of coarse, guitar-based sound for the work they've offered here.