Essential New Music: Banditos’ “Visionland”

The Banditos’ blend of country, Memphis soul, funk, rock, ’50s R&B and psychedelic folk is full of unexpected juxtapositions. When was the last time you heard a banjo taking the solo spotlight in a rock band? The sextet has a thorough knowledge of rock’s early history, and it makes music that tips its hat to the past without sounding derivative. “Thick ’N’ Thin” is a funky country ode to the friends who pull you through the hard times, driven by Randy Wade’s subtle backbeat, the galloping acoustic bass of Danny Vines and the twin twanging guitars of Corey Parsons and Jeffrey Salter. There’s an uncredited, wildly cheerful kazoo solo on “Fun All Night” that complements the song’s playful message of seduction, while album closer “DDT” is an in-the-pocket rocker featuring a phase-shifted banjo solo from Stephen Pierce, supported by the harmonies of Parsons and Mary Beth Richardson.

j. poet