By Ban Brothers
One World Music Radio
Ban Brothers have released their brand new album Guiding Star, an album consisting on 12 tracks, all released as singles, some with different versions on the album. It is their first full-length album in seven years, since the release of their album "All About Love: Music From The Heart" back in 2016, and their first full-length, 100% English language album.
The new Ban Brothers album Guiding Star, is an album that is full of hope and over flowing with love, the release will take you back to the golden days of the 90's, those lush colourful summers when young hearts ran free. Ban Brothers with Guiding Star have set free the spirit of love, kindness, compassion and uplifting encouragement, and in doing so presented us with an album that is both totally addictive and undeniably good.
The album opens with Dream High, a really fun piece, which could be a bit of a pop classic. Dream High has a message to follow and a foot tapping narrative that is hard to resist, and features the vocals of someone called Sunny. It has shades of Christopher Cross, Chris Rea and Squeeze within the music.
There are shades of a multitude of genres with an uplifting narrative that is something to behold and to be grateful for on this next arrangement, This is Life. The vocals of Rocky assist the brothers, and the flow of the arrangement gives us elements of Americana, light rock, pop and many other styles, and all done with such craft and intelligence, that each and every listener will find something that touches them deep within the veils of this song.
Ban Brothers are again joined by Rocky on lead vocals to take us back to those heady days of bands like Crowded House or Mike And The Mechanics on this next arrangement, Tomorrow's Gonna Rain. There is also a driving essence within that is utterly infectious, with a musical menu that is wide and vast, there is also a hint of The Moody Blues and a slight touch from time to time of a Beatles influence deep within the weave too.
Imagination is up next. Once again session vocalist Rocky joins the brothers, on this uplifting, extremely hopeful new song. The lyrical content is now more valid than ever before, even more perhaps than the 60s, but one has to have hope. This folk-pop ballad has also a wonderful swing to its melody, very similar to how Cat Stevens captured the imagination back in the day.
The title track is up now, Guiding Star. and the brothers may have created an anthem for a TV show or perhaps even a charitable advert here, as it certainly builds upon a narrative of positivity and hope, something we all need today more than ever. The song itself has been described as cinematic pop, and in some ways that goes to confirm my aforementioned statement of its style, the lyrics are sung with power, intensity and purpose by session vocalist Rocky, a regular with the Brothers. One may find elements of folk within this new song, with shades of a mysterious nature perhaps, however, I believe it would be perfect for a show like Stranger Things, one could with ease see it succeed in that arena.
Songs about love have been the main stay for the popular music scene since I can remember, to express this most powerful of emotions within music is an art indeed, but here Ban Brothers do it with such consummate ease on Love Makes My World is one that features the startlingly brilliant vocals of the legendary Scott Oatley. The influence of unconditional love is strong within this track, a piece that reminded me of the classic days of bands like Crowded House or Mike and the Mechanics, here the artists have added flavours and textures of folk and country and layered flowing pop motifs on top of that as well.
Move On, with that pop, soft rock vibe is our next port of call. The music reminds me of the band Squeeze from the 80s and 90s with its upbeat tempo and with lyrics that encourage you to be strong and to keep going, sung by session vocalist Ethan C, the music is encouraging with its ever onward beat.
This song, Nothin’ Like This (album version) featuring session vocalist Robbie, is very much in the mould of indie-style rock, tinged with Americana and touches of country here and there. It’s an upbeat tune and the hopeful and cheerful lyrics reflect that. The guy’s obviously loved and lost before but this time, he feels he’s found somebody special. The repeating message, is that nothing like this ever happened to him before, (we’ve probably all been there).
The next arrangement is In My Dream (album version), the texture of the song is more of a ballad, and the guitar within this latest creation was extremely effective and once again features the vocals of Rocky. This composition is a tonal expression of love, and its flowing musical prowess creates an honest and heart felt narrative. This crafted manifestation floats like a harmonic cloud between the valleys of folk, pop and 90’s music with such ease. This is a song to enjoy and remember perhaps the carefree notions of young love; also it may remind you of acts like The Rembrandts or The Church back in the day.
Love Alone Can Do is up now, an up tempo tune, performed in ¾ (waltz) time and with a definite World Music vibe. Love Alone Can Do has upbeat, hopeful, heartfelt lyrics written and beautifully sung by Swagata "Ban" Banerjee. I especially love the use of the accordion on this track– it is an integral part of the performance and while undoubtedly the instrumental star of this single, it blends perfectly with the rest of the band and gives the music almost a Cajun or “Tex-Mex” feel: think of the band Calexico around the time of their Hot Rail or Black Light albums and you’ll be on the right line here.
We now arrive at a piece inspired by John Lennon and called Most Beautiful, and the inspiration can be heard within the music with ease. This is another love song, or maybe it could be about being infatuated with someone, but either way, the lyrics are great, and written by Swagata "Ban" Banerjee, the words are simple, easy to sing along to, and easy to remember, which goes a long way with the listener. I am sure that most people will have felt like this at some point in their lives about someone. Most Beautiful is a beautiful ballad, and essences of John Farnham and even Van Morrison’s “Someone Like You” can be heard within the music, but this is very much a Ban Brothers release, as that laid back style associated with them, which can be heard throughout the music.
We swim now into the welcome arms of our concluding track entitled Nothin' Gets Lost (album version), this is a driving creation, with an almost cross-over 80’s/90’s feel that reminded me of the California based band of that era called The Jellyfish featuring the vocals of session vocalist Ethan C. The positive upbeat narrative is the perfect way with which to leave the project, a song with a passionate vibrancy all of its own and a level of positivity to hold onto as the notes fade away.