Banjo Or Freakout
Does the name Disco Drive ring any bells? Thought not. Seriously though, they’re as fine a band as any under the ‘punk funk’ umbrella. If you’re not sure, check out the bass line of this killer track…
You can’t tell us that didn’t get your head bobbing just a little bit.
So why have Disco Drive never toured with Bloc Party, The Rapture or Klaxons? There’s one very good reason. They’re from Italy. Turin to be precise. It doesn’t matter how great they are – and they really are a spectacular live band – it’s always going to be a struggle to translate domestic success in an off-the-radar country to an international level. It’s irrelevant that every song is sung in perfect English. Disco Drive are in the wrong place at the right time.
That was one of the reasons behind Alessio Natalizia’s move to London a couple of years ago. The shortest member of Disco Drive, he was also the one most willing to sacrifice the never-ending fountain of great weather, coffee and pizza, three essential components of Northern Italian life.
London is the home of Alessio’s new band, Banjo Or Freakout, if band is the right word for what’s he’s doing.
Describing Banjo Or Freakout’s music isn’t a straightforward business. It’s pop for the chill out room. It’s dance music for your ears, not your feet. It’s experimental, but easily accessible. It’s as weird as you want it to be.
Freakout even further…
Don’t be deceived into thinking that Alessio’s decision to relocate to a city with a thriving music industry has resulted in a more commercial sound than Disco Drive’s banging punk funk. If anything, Banjo Or Freakout is further out in left field.
Turin’s finest three piece plays live, with Alessio switching between guitar and a second stripped-down drum kit, but for Banjo Or Freakout the rules of what a band actually needs have gone out the window. Go see Banjo Or Freakout and there’s no telling who’ll be on stage. Alessio will be there for sure, playing guitar and drums (sometimes simultaneously), bass, keyboard and a laptop. And there’ll probably be a buddy up there with him, driving the rhythm on stand-up drums. Sometimes there will be a full band. Whatever personnel, equipment and technology are to hand is what Alessio will use. Every show is different, every song is different each time it’s played. That’s the whole idea. It’s the indie version of Forrest Gump’s chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.
Great pop roots
Is the world ready for this kind of radicalism? In a word, yes. Because at the root of Banjo Or Freakout’s experimentation is pop music. Listen through the fuzz and these are songs you can lose yourself in.
The album is due in September. Recorded this winter in New York City, the buzz is already growing. There’s good chance that Alessio will become Italy’s first English-language indie-dance-pop’s superstar.
Oh yeah, and he’s started another band too, Walls.
Visit their MySpace page here…
And people say Italians aren’t hard workers.
To keep regular updates of Banjo Or Freakout check out their Blog