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Banta: Dark Charms [Digipak]

Track List

>Three Feet from Gold
>Fool for Love
>Dark Charms
>I'm Not Yours
>Far Field
>White Noise
>Running Car
>Hungry Heart

Album Notes

The debut studio long-player from the Echo Park-based indie pop quintet led by Oregon native Sharaya Mikael, Dark Charms begins, appropriately, in a shady spot. Opener "Three Feet from Gold" arrives via a somber piano melody and Mikael musing "Only time will tell what we'll find when we lose ourselves." Banta's predilection for vintage clothing and breezy classic rock melodies is often tempered by their willingness to peer into the abyss, and though Dark Charms spends most of its capital on the former persuasion, songs like the vampy "White Noise" and the brooding "Damned" suggest that the Cure get just as much van air time as Fleetwood Mac do. In fact, Robert Smith and company cast a grand shadow over the driving single "Someday," which sounds more than a little like "Love Song," albeit if Lady Antebellum had been at the helm, and the witchy title track also treads timeworn ground, sounding more or less like a kissing cousin to Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon." Still, both tracks are executed to such sonic perfection that it's easy to forgive their trespasses, and Mikael's voice, while not as strong as Stevie Nicks, carries with it enough smoky magic to stick the landing. The Oregon native spent some time in Nashville prior to forming the group, and that stint in Music City colors some of the album's later offerings, with both the atmospheric "Running Car" and the front porch-ready "Hungry Heart" owing more to country-pop than indie rock. Banta seem to be struggling a bit to find their identity on Dark Charms, but they're doing so with style, and for the most part substance. Everything tastes familiar, but it goes down real easy. ~ James Christopher Monger


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