Hailing from Melbourne, but with a sound stretching from 60s and 70s afrobeat and exotica to Fela Kuti-esque repetition, the proto-garage rhythmic fury of The Monks and the grooves of Os Mutantes, there’s an enticing lost world exoticism to the music of Bananagun. It’s the sort of stuff that could have come from a dusty record crate of hidden gems; yet as the punchy, colourfully vibrant pair of singles 'Do Yeah' and 'Out of Reach' have proven over the past 12 months, the band are no revivalists. On debut album The True Story of Bananagun, they make a giant leap forward with their outward-looking blend of global tropicalia.
The True Story of Bananagun marks Bananagun’s first full foray into writing and recording as a complete band, having originally germinated in the bedroom ideas and demos of guitarist, vocalist and flautist Nick van Bakel. The mult-instrumentalist grew up on skate videos, absorbing the hip-hop beats that soundtracked them, taking on touchstones like Self Core label founder Mr. Dibbs and other early 90’s turntablists. That love of the groove underpins Bananagun - even if the rhythms now traverse far beyond those fledgling influences.
"We didn't want to do what everyone else was doing,” the band’s founder says.
“We wanted it to be vibrant, colourful and have depth like the jungle. Like an ode to nature."
Van Bakel was joined first by cousin Jimi Gregg on drums–the pair’s shared love of the Jungle Book apparently made him a natural fit – and the rest of the group are friends first and foremost, put together as a band because of a shared emphasis on keeping things fun. Jack Crook (guitar/vocals), Charlotte Tobin (djembe/percussion) and Josh Dans (bass)complete the five-piece and between them there’s a freshness and playful spontaneity to The True Story of Bananagun, borne out of late night practice jams and hangs at producer John Lee’s Phaedra Studios.
1. Bang Go The Bongos
2. The Master
3. People Talk Too Much
4. Freak Machine
5. Bird Up!
6. Out of Reach
7. She Now
8. Perfect Stranger
9. Mushroom Bomb
10. Modern Day Problems
11. Taking the Present for Granted
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Nominated 'Best Independent Retailer' at the Music Week Awards in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Nominated "Indie Champions" at the 2015 AIM Awards.