By Samantha Goddess (printed in The Noise Boston, November 2011)
To vastly oversimplify, there are two distant poles on the spectrum of music in which women are primary cast members. There are the rockers (Suzi Quatro, the Runaways, Joan Jett) at the I-can-rock-as-hard-as-the-boys-can end, and there are the singer-songwriters (Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro) at the song-crafty, folkier end. The fertile ground in the middle of that wide musical range is less well worn, and has a vastly smaller population. Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders reign as the most potent example of how powerful the synthesis of Stones-y rock and new wave/power pop can be, and it’s rewarding to find that the sweet spot that they carved out is nowadays comfortably occupied by the Bandit Kings. When one tries to describe the rich mixture of genres that the Pretenders embodied, it’s easy to end up with a too-long list of descriptors for something that sounds and feels very simple: a rootsy rock ’n’ roll feel, catchy pop melodies with a dash of new-wave hip, and a propulsive post-punk undercurrent. Similarly, the Bandit Kings’ founder and lead guitarist, Dan King, ends up with a fairly wordy answer when asked what bands are the most oft-cited influences for the band he put together. Others are quick to name “the obvious female-led groups like the Bangles, Pretenders, Go-Gos, B-52s,” King says, “and I’d have to say, they’re right, but there’s definitely an undercurrent of R.E.M. jangle, AC/DC power, and L.A. punk harmony in the style of X involved as well.” The two female front women in the Bandit Kings, Renee Dupuis and Ann Marie, are hugely responsible for delivering on that imposing mission statement. The two share lead vocal duties up front (with Dupuis often on her Nord keyboard) and together become greater than the sum of their parts: a gravelly, growling alto, and a clear-as-a-bell soprano harmonizing together in ways that make the question of “who’s singing lead” feel both irrelevant and hard to discern....
Read the rest here: http://www.thenoise-boston.com/content/blogcategory/1/2/