! = recommended
* = all-ages
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On their debut self-titled EP, unsigned Seattle locals Banner Barbados triumphantly strum their bar-chords on a disc so full of everything underground rock and roll has ever been known for. It seems ready to burst into the hands of some clean-cut A&R guy who thinks a fusion of punk, dance, and indie might make for a good release once the O.C.-branded soundtracks get boring.
Despite the short length of this debut EP, one finds that it can feel like a full-length album — especially if one puts the EP on repeat in an endless (obsessive?) loop. By the end of the fourth or fifth trip through, bubblegum pop songs (bubblegum that's been chewed, spit onto asphalt, and then chewed again, that is), you'll be able to smell the mildew of basements and the shampoo of pretty co-eds.
The disc starts off with "Since You Caught My Eye," a sing-along which seems to simultaneously mock and laud sing-alongs, but remains enough like something off the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat to make even the most tattooed of bikers bounce a head and raise a PBR with each hit of the snare.
Sandwiched in the middle is "My Dirty Secret is a Divine Dilemma," something the Strokes would have tossed to the cutting room floor for being just a little dirtier than their Manhattan-bred thoughts could handle. Like Brooklyn. But damn, it's awesome.
The whole affair closes, like most affairs, with someone screaming. "I'm always sleeping in your mind," roars the track "Catatonic," the heaviest and longest of the three. It closes the most promising debut to come 'round the mountain in some time. They're playing the Crocodile on 6/17. If I were within 100 miles, I would make the drive just to hear "Since You Caught My Eye."