Banjo or Freakout review

Electronic distortions and pop melodies in this impressive debut

Banjo or Freakout
4/5

Once a song is written, most bands record the canonical arrangement, which is ultimately what their audience will expect to hear live. Thus, a track’s identity is chiselled in stone. It doesn’t leave much room for whimsy. BOF’s Alessio Natalizia, on the other hand, is all about the whimsy. His music explores the unbearable lightness of recording – Natalizia will famously not record more than one take of any song. Of course, this means any subsequent live airing is likely to be very different. But it also means the songs are free to frolic, unbound by genre conventions or fan expectations. The common thread that runs through BOF’s debut album is emotional rather than sonic. There’s a hazy wistfulness to each of his dreamy tracks that encompass electronic flourishes, pop melodies, folkish musings and widescreen soundscapes, as well as whatever else feels right at the time. The result is refreshing, affecting and, most of all, entertaining.

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