Banditos: Banditos


Videos by American Songwriter

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Scraggly long hair, beards and droopy hats is the fashion statement of the ready for Duck Dynasty likes of Nashville by way of Alabama outlaws the Banditos. And, true to their desperado name and scruffy, Lynyrd Skynyrd/Outlaws/Molly Hatchet appearance, the sextet’s music is appropriately shit-kicking rock, shot through with enough banjo and hot pickin’ to get them some country and even bluegrass attention.

Tougher than leather frontwoman Mary Beth Richardson’s whisky laced howl drives much of this debut and the gruff band takes care of the rest of the boozy, pistol packing Southern attack. Give ‘em credit for self-composing every track on this initial fist to the face offering even if there isn’t much originality to the sound.

There is however sufficient raw blues and restraint in rugged ballads such as “No Good” and “Old Ways” to throw Joplin in as a logical touch point. The revved up twang created by two guitars and banjo ensures “Can’t Get Away” and “Waitin’” will fill any smoke-filled honky tonk’s dance floor. Add some ZZ Top boogie and Drive-By Truckers’ gutsy guitar for a pounding Southern rock buffet that has been honed to a taut edge by 600 shows in bars and concert stages over the past three years.

The pace slows for some folksy honky-tonk on “Blue Money #2” and the closing darker, creeping, ominous vibe of “Preachin’ to the Choir” shows real depth. We could have done without the cringe-worthy kazoo solo in “Long Gone, Anyway” but that is likely to nab everyone’s attention in concert and is one of this album’s few missteps.

With three lead singers to keep the approach fresh and a dozen virile tunes, Banditos have a promising future playing to audiences as rowdy as they are … and those who want to be.

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