The Bandulus – Tell It Like It Is

by Mar 10, 2024Artist, Reviews

The Bandulus - Tell It Like It Is

Release Info

Label
Badasonic Records
Format
LP
Street date
March 8, 2024
Contact
Website Artist

Tracklist
Side A
1. Not Tonight
2. Only Always
3. Pieces (Love Refine)
4. You Gave Me A Chance
5. Broken Smile
6. Sunny Days

Side B
1. Be Your Man
2. Tell It Like It Is
3. Shadows
4. West Portland Park
5. Some Kind Of Love
6. Honest Goodbye

The Bandulus

Jeremy Peña, a musician hailing from Austin, Texas, founded The Bandulus (Jamaican patois for bandit) with a vision of blending ska, reggae, and soul elements into a harmonious mix. Their debut album hit the shelves in 2010, leading Jeremy to expand his band by recruiting talented musicians from Austin and San Antonio. Following the success of their 2012 album, The Times We Had, the band experienced a period of quiet before making a strong comeback in 2020 with the set Love A Woman. The Bandulus have graced the stage with renowned reggae and ska acts such as The Skatalites, The Wailers, Inner Circle, and The Skints. Their latest project, the album Tell It Like It Is, features twelve tracks and was partially recorded in Belgium under the guidance of Nico Leonard from Badasonic Records, who also contributed as a musician. Four tracks were recorded in Portland, Oregon.

Styles

As anticipated, the album showcases an enticing blend of reggae, ska, and soul styles. The majority of the songs are well-crafted originals, primarily penned by Jeremy. A standout is the band’s reggae cover of Aaron Neville’s iconic 1966 track Tell It Like It Is, which seamlessly fits into the overall vibe. Jeremy’s vocal delivery easily complements the diverse musical styles and meshes beautifully with the female backing vocalists. The album kicks off on a high note with the enchanting lovers’ tune Not Tonight, an instant earworm that sets the tone. Pieces (Love Refine) follows suit, featuring a melancholic organ riff and an infectious rocksteady groove. Similarly, Broken Smile captivates the listener instantly and features an intro reminiscent of Lord Creator’s classic Kingston Town.

Cohesive Sound

West Portland Park is a groovy instrumental ska tune that beautifully encapsulates the vibrant and lively ska music scene that thrived in 1960s Jamaica. Shadows stands out with its infectious piano riff and smooth rocksteady vibes. In contrast, the ballad You Gave Me A Chance brings to mind the doo-wop sounds of yesteryears. This same nostalgic style can be heard on the album’s final track, Honest Goodbye. Sunny Days is a soulful throwback tune that transports listeners back to the era of Stax and Motown. Despite not being reggae, these tracks seamlessly blend into the album’s cohesive sound.

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