Release Date: Jun 23, 2017
Record label: Bloodshot
Once upon a time, Southern rock was a genre with boundaries as distinct as the Mason-Dixon Line, the unapologetic territory of alcohol-saturated, sun-soaked, hallucinatory visionaries of the backwoods and the drag strip, full of Southern pride and stubbornness. That first, definitive wave of Southern Rock was blunt and visceral in sound and impact, as fertile and humid as its host, imbued with a promise of both intimacy and violence, much like its people. Like the hills and hollers, the field and dirt roads of its genesis, Southern rock has been the site of quite a few hotly contested battles over the years since its early 1970s inception amidst bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, and Molly Hatchet.
On their debut album, the Banditos sounded strikingly accomplished for a young band, and two years later they're even more impressive on their second long-player, 2017's Visionland. The Banditos haven't narrowed their scope one bit, and like their self-titled debut, Visionland finds them building an individual sound from elements of country, rock, gospel, jazz, and blues influences. If there's a difference here, it's that the various ingredients mesh more smoothly than they did the first time out, and the musicians have worked out an even tighter attack.
If album number two from Nashville sextet the Banditos was a carbon copy of their well-received debut, it would have painted the band into a Southern rock corner. Certainly, the collective's revved up/boogie down, two-guitar with banjo attack could have been milked for another disc (or more) without audiences complaining. To their credit, the Banditos tug at their self-imposed boundaries on this sophomore release, without abandoning the rust-colored dirt under their collective collars.
Many bands never get off the ground because they can't find their "home." Banditos, as confirmed by their second album Visionland, have no such concerns. For them, home is '70s Muscle Shoals country-soul colliding with psychedelia and occult, and stamped by the identifiable quaver of singer Mary Beth Richardson. Visionland kicks off with the hard-hitting "Fine Fine Day," which picks up right where their 2010 self-titled debut ended.