Banquets/Mayflower - Split Release Date: July 5th, 2011
Record Label: Black Numbers
I’ve been pretty vocal about my appreciation for this little Jersey City band called Banquets recently. This six-track split isn’t a bad way to show you why. Their side is all about execution and elegance, qualities that they nail on “Sexy Ghosts.” The track is a bigger, better version of the Polar Bear Club-meet-The Loved Ones-meet-The Gaslight Anthem sound they were building on This Is Our Concern, Dude – read: heaps of energy and frenetic guitars colliding in blissful punk rock harmony. It’s got a sky-high replay value, and is most valuable for the glimpse it gives of just how much potential this band has.
On “Unforgiven V,” Banquets experiment with a heavier, mid-tempo personality that isn’t nearly as exciting as the previous number. There’s a bit of a letdown in terms of energy, but it’s hardly a throw-away in any sense of the word. No need to sell it short though; Banquets are one of those bands that can write anything and make it sound good, and “Unforgiven V” still rocks steady. Then there’s the Hot Rod Circuit cover, which might be the highlight of the split. This version of “Versatility” captures every ounce of the original’s adrenaline – a pleasant surprise in a year of mediocre covers.
Mayflower play a different brand of punk rock, opting for speed and raw melody above anything else. Their side of the split? Equally as good. “Cork High” is a catchy punk spurt, and “Archival” evolves from mid-tempo moaning to full-fledged pop-punk. My favorite track by far, though, is their PBR-ified version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band.” They keep the infamous bass line but play the song about twice as fast, and ten times as gruff. The original version clocks in at just over 2 minutes, but Mayflower’s rendition caps out at a minute-forty six, making their version criminally short. This fusion of punk and alt-country is heaven by the way. I pray to God Mayflower inspire a legion of similar covers.
Awesome split. Only recently discovered Banquets but absolutely love 'This Is Our Concern, Dude'. Mayflower are great, like Dillinger Four jamming with Ryan from Off With Their Heads. You can download their last album from their bandcamp as a pay-what-you-like.