In case you’ve been misled into thinking that all the rock coming out of Brooklyn these days is fey, affected and wimpy, you haven’t heard Yankee Bang Bang. With a savage, punkish satirical edge, their music veers between punk, powerpop and art-rock, full of catchy hooks, cool guitar/keyboard textures and the occasional Bollywood influence courtesy of guitarist and sometime frontwoman Sita Asar. Their new album Color Me is up at their Bandcamp site as a free download and you should grab it now.
The first track, Silver Bullet opens with an icy piano flourish, a cough, a flat vocal and then they’re off. It’s got a matter-of-fact garage rock sway and an offhandedly vicious, sarcastic look at the Bushwick poser-rock scene. “This sound is so great, comes with an expiration date…love songs we couldn’t swallow from musician/actor/models,” bassist Glenn Baughman snarls. The satire slashes even more amusingly on the ba-ba powerpop song Love, Or, a clever juxtaposition of the down-and-out against the phony down-and-out: the jokes are too mean and too good to spoil here. That’s Love starts out with a sardonic bounce and Sean Spada’s silly 80s outerspace new wave keyboards and then goes unexpectedly majestic and noir with an eerie twinkle from the keys and Assar’s plaintive voice soaring over the din.
The catchy powerpop anthem Let’s Dance sets guitarist Asar’s nonchalant vocals over burning distorted chords that blend with blippy Wurly keys, sort of a major-key version of Siouxsie’s Hong Kong Garden, while Leaving Town Today, sung by Baughman builds to a ferocious electric Neil Young-style crescendo. Asar’s crescendoing, stoic torrents of lyrics create a deadpan apocalyptic vibe on the big, catchy 6/8 anthem Soon – that’s either Kevin Blatchford or Champ Jones behind the drums with all those swooshy cymbal crashes. The last track, World I Made works an unexpectedly low-key but bouncy acoustic vibe with some neat, passionate Bollywood-style vocalese from Asar: the band calls this a “radio mix.” We need more bands like this; watch this space for upcoming NYC dates.