BNQT (Lytle, Bridwellm Kapranos, Healy, Pulido) Create Huge Unified Sound On ‘Volume 1’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

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In most cases, so-called “supergroups” are best described as the sum of their parts. It’s fortuitous then to find a band such as BNQT creating a unified sound that doesn’t betray any singular influence of any of those involved. The band describes itself as a “poor man’s Traveling Wilburys,” and, in fact, that’s not a bad label considering the five vocalists’ disparate backgrounds. Jason Lytle hails from Grandaddy, Ben Bridwell represents Band of Horses, Alex Kapranos is from Franz Ferdinand, Fran Healy does vocal duties with Travis, and Eric Pulido does the same with Midlake, whose members also provide the instrumental back-up.

Still, for such a disparate band, the sound is surprisingly in sync, mostly sweeping mid-tempo anthems that soar of a gossamer-like sheen. “100 Million Miles,” “Real Love,” and “Mind of a Man” maintain a heavenly gaze, a dreamy delivery that recalls a classic album rock sound circa a ‘70s vintage variety. The effusive “LA On My Mind” sounds so radio ready, in fact (its “hey hey hey” refrains being but one reason why), that it’s easy to imagine the song was originally birthed back then. The same can be said of “Tara” and “Fighting the World” as well.

With that in mind, it’s all but impossible to isolate any individual vocalist, given the fact that the album is so remarkably harmonious overall. The fact that it’s dubbed Volume 1 suggests that there will be other offerings from this conglomerate, a wise and welcome decision considering that BNQT doesn’t come across as an ad hoc combo, but rather one that is ready to venture forward through common purpose. Granted, the members still have their day jobs, but if and when any or all opt to move on, BNQT would seem a logical — and potentially profitable — next step.

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