Epic Hello, The Bandit Kings’ second full-length album, was recorded in 2011 by Tony Goddess at Bang-A-Song Studio in Gloucester, MA and was realized under the watchful eyes of songwriter/producer Dan King and co-producer Dave Mattacks (who’s worked with likes of Paul McCartney, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, etc.); featuring a whole lotta love from Goddess (Papas Fritas, Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents), Nelson Bragg (from the Brian Wilson Band), and Russ Lawton (Trey Anastasio Band). Mixed at Q Division Studios in Somerville and mastered at M-Works in Cambridge, the new album is a collaboratve rock effort with accordian snapsots and heavy reliance on the bands country and folk roots. Full of both twang and rasp, each song is its own story with a common jangle-pop thread that pulls together to form a tight 30 minute ride. Not exactly a rollercoaster ride, but a train ride, with rumbling stops in Lucinda Williams-ville, hard turns in Pretenders-town, and gentle coasting through Heart city.
What you’re saying:
“…The tracks on Epic Hello feel as varied as ever, but still sonically unified. There’s the pleading ballad title track, a jumpy post-punk number (“Down Cold Razor”), a honky-tonk barnburner (“Blue Sky Sundown”), and a modern sounding new-wave tune called “Black Seal.” “Take Another Look” is a prime example of the Bandit Kings fusing together what they do best, and hitting the sweet spot head-on: straight ahead rock ’n’ roll with a propulsive backbeat and a catchy chorus…”
-Samantha Goddess (Read full cover article in The Noise-Boston)
“Seeing as you are currently on the internet, I can assume you have heard of Epic Fails. Epic Hello is another story altogether, with no cats in bathtubs or goth girls snapping cellphone pics of themselves. Very unlike the bathroom mirror girls, Epic Hello is a rather mature piece, displaying poise and posture that inspire confidence in the listener. The Kings’ rhythm section drives the track’s steady beat with unrelenting energy and a firm hand, making it endlessly satisfying to nod/rock/whatever-you-do along with the tempo.
We realize that we can trust The Bandit Kings with our ears, because Epic Hello is a complete sounding piece from the five-piece Bandit Kings, spearheaded by the Queens of the Kings (see what I did there?) Ann Marie and Renee Dupuis (see what they did there?). In much the same way the front-women’s names jangle sonorously together, so do their voices. The vocals twine in and out of each other, occasionally joining forces, occasionally establishing their own paths through the melody. They seem to have an innate understanding between them, like someone you will let wander off at a store/party/show and don’t worry about finding them – simply because you know you will, with no problem.
Weighing in at 4:23 (you guys couldn’t have made it three seconds shorter, mannnnn?) Epic Hello is slightly more “epic” than your average title track, yet nowhere near as epic as some longer-winded songs can be. When a song is particularly sweet, we say we didn’t notice it was longer than your average song, but this is not the case here. Worry not, listeners: this song is sweet, yet you realize its length and breadth and you sort of stand back and say “Well, that fits just right.” You will realize the epic-ness of this track, but you won’t mind it – you will like it.”
“The Kings of Gloucester have developed their own sound. It’s melodic, it bops, rocks, and soothes, it’s subtly unpredictable, and its biggest feature is the double vocal attack of Renee Dupuis and Ann Marie Shamanoski. These two strong female vocalists have different styles that compliment each other—Renee is the perfected studied voice, while Ann Marie adds a colorful delivery of character (note: both can wail). “Find” is a melodic standout that I swore was titled “On a Friday.” The barroom pleaser has the gals (did I mention that these two are very eye-pleasing?) dying to get “The Shirt Off My Back.” Oh yeah, before I forget, there are also three talented guys in the band—the solid rhythm section of drummer Dennis Monagle and bassist Joe Cardoza, and the Man—the excellent songwritin’, co-producing, guitarist Dan King. Recorded at Tony Goddess’s Bang A Gong Studio with Dave Mattacks co-producing, mixed at Q Division by Matt Beaudoin, and mastered by Jonathan Wyner at M-Works—the experience in the product shows. I saved the best for last—the final track on the CD—the title track “Epic Hello” stands by itself as a soothing, sad, emotional journey of desire with a matching melody that is rarely stumbled upon by any rock ’n’ roll musicians.”
-T Max (The Noise-Boston)