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Patti Smith – Banga

Oh Patti, how I love thee. Banga was recorded in similar circumstances to her debut, the august Horses, using the same studio and many of the original players, and it is just as brilliant. From the opener Amerigo her beautiful, cello-like voice absolutely captivates. It’s one of the most glorious instruments I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing.

The songs assembled here are warm and powerful, and transport you to idyllic lands. Single April Fool features Television’s Tom Verlaine, and his guitar work is outstanding. This Is The Girl is about Amy Winehouse, and is a respectable pastiche of the style Amy made her own. Banga, the title track, is a curious creature, a battle cry of sorts, and for the first minute is basically Patti accompanied by Johnny Depp on drums, with Patti’s son providing some rather convincing barks, before the band come in.

The record builds to the epic Constantine’s Dream, a ten minute poem powerfully recited over a gargantuan soundscape backdrop. It deals with the apocalypse, the destruction of paradise, our world. The closing track is a delicate cover of Neil Young’s After The Goldrush, Patti’s voice soothingly imitating Neil’s. A choir of children join in at the end for the refrain of “Look at Mother Nature on the run…”, and then it’s over.

Banga is as brilliant and praiseworthy as Horses. It’s an absolute triumph, and I feel honoured to have been able to hear it. It’s not just a record, it’s art in its purest form. Patti channels the fundamental, the totality. It’s pure meditation. It is epoch defining, paradigm shifting, beauty & revelation.

Like her book Just Kids, what Patti has created here is a true rapture, and I love love love it.

1 June 2012.

Columbia Records.

Check out:
April Fool, Maria, Constantine’s Dream.

5 cows

Official site (links open in a separate tab/window)

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