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Back in 2010 a mysterious and rocking group popped up in the Twin Cities and began releasing EP albums, each packaged in neat and modest cardboard cases made out of recycled materials. The CD cases were each marked with a number and the band’s logo, both of which appear to have been painted on by hand. I’ve listened to several of the BNLX albums but try to stick to as close to the Twin Ports as I can with CD reviews and the albums were always a little dated by the time I got my hands on one.
The band consists of Ed Ackerson and his wife Ashley Ackerson and they both have had a history with the regional music scene over the years. They founded the Susstones label which has help put out acts such as The Melismatics, Blue Sky Blackout and Two Harbors. Ed and Ashley have also performed with the bands Polara and the Mood Swings. When the band’s Facebook site first appeared the members mentioned were “e.a., a.a, d.j., knobby, blinky and p.d.” Since the band has been around for awhile there’s a little less of a veil of mystery to them; Dave Jarnstrom is credited on the drums and P.D. Larson is credited with “etc.”
The first track “See What I See (Hella Rad Punk as F*ck)” starts the album off with swirling layers of rocking energy that still contains a massive amount of catchiness. Despite the immediate accessibleness of the song, there is plenty of intensity provided by underlying guitar noise and what is probably other electronic devices. There is a ton going on this song but it is held down with solid melody lines with the singing and a bass line that stays true and consistent making it one bad ass yet totally danceable song.
The next track “Meet Me On The Barricades” is likewise bordering on pop-rock. Vibrato effect ridden guitars shimmer underneath the main verse parts and once again the bass line stays simple yet drives through effectively. A break down about two minutes in the song briefly creates some beautiful disorder but it falls right back into the undeniably hooky chorus.
The song “Round the Dial” blends the first song with what has kind of a Sonic Youth feel. From the spoken lyrics to the more dissonant guitar sounds, this song stands out with an edgier and raw sound than the previous two tracks.
The track “Video Games” is a Lana Del Ray cover and BNLX definitely adds their own sound to it while keeping the kind of sad beauty of the original. There’s certainly a little more punch than the softer strings and harp in the Del Ray version.
It seems that the song “See What I See” was meant to be a single for radio play because the last track is identical to the first, except the “F” word is replaced by a noise that is better than if a radio station were to try to edit it themselves.
For those looking for some catchy and rocking psychedelic, disco, electro-punkish music, look no further than EP #7. I’ve yet to hear something from BNLX that’s been lousy and for some reason I don’t think that’s going to happen.
BNLX will be performing at Tycoon’s Alehouse on Saturday, June 2 in downtown Duluth along with the local hip-hop/rock group Equal Xchange for the Duluth/Superior Film Festival that will be happening throughout the weekend.