The Reel Banditos – Indochina (CD)

The Reel Banditos are a unique act. Imagine if CCR mated with KMFDM and listeners will have some sort of clue what The Reel Banditos are doing during this EP. Where there are no vocals during this track, The Reel Banditos do a heck of a job creating an easy to follow narrative that is present at all points during this track. Their dedication to this sound continues through this EP, and can especially be heard (and seen) during their single, “Huey”.

“Huey”‘s video was created by the Frame Fighters, an experimental video-creation collective, and it begins with a chopper flying toward the viewer. The cut-out style that is used for the figures in the video speaks well to The Reel Banditos’ own style of music, while the portrayal of a creek (in a digitized style that clashes with the rest of the frame) speaks volumes to the eclecticism of The Reel Banditos through “Huey” and the rest of the release. The allure of The Reel Banditos extends beyond the music that is present on the EP, and as “Huey” shows, can and should be present in a multi-media presentation.

“The Fall of Saigon” builds up in much the same way as “Huey”, with ominous instrumentation creating an atmosphere in which anything can happen. Whether it be gunshots, bombs, mines, or the like, listeners do not know. The rapid tempo that the track achieves further highlights this danger, and the Eastern flavor of the track really hammers home the theme of this release. “My Lai” has a slower flow to it than “The Fall of Saigon”, creating the image of a dignified community that has a sorrow present, understanding what events are to come. Later tracks on “Indochina”, such as “The Fall of Saigon” and “The Non Nucc”, put the cap on what is a tremendously well-detailed and dense theme album.

Where the electronic genre has stagnated in the years following from the turn of the new millennium, The Reel Banditos are able to freshen that art form through building off of the work of storied artists such as The Chemical Brothers, Air, and Crystal Method and imbuing the earlier styles with a myriad of different styles and genres, ensuring that listeners can easily define the music that they are hearing as unique Reel Banditos tracks. I have a feeling that subsequent releases by The Reel Banditos will continue to experience and expand upon what the band touched on during this EP and that after this release, that fans of all stripes will flock to any live shows or follow-up releases that the band may come out with in the next few years. Singlehandedly, The Reel Banditos have saved electronic music.

Top Track: ASA, Poisoned Sky

Rating: 8.5/10

The Reel Banditos – Indochina / 2008 Self / 14 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/reelbanditos

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