Reviewed by Jade Daly
A hell of a lot can happen in the space of ten years; people grow up and they move on, they make new friends and they forget others. Bands disband while others form, and some just keep on chugging along. Banner Pilot however, are doing much more than that, and after almost a decade doing what they know and love, they’re still going strong.
Souvenir is the first release since the bands 2011 record Heart Beats Pacific, and after two years waiting it feels damn good to have some new material to coincide with the coming summer months.
The record opens up with Modern Shakes, and whilst the initial feel is that this record has a softer, less chaotic sound than that of its predecessor, that charming all American, Banner Pilot sound is still there. Dead Tracks is a winner, with a melodious guitar riff and an uncharacteristically clean sound, it’s easy to see how the band have progressed in the time they’ve spent away. Heat Rash keeps up tradition with a slightly faster tempo, catchy beats and relatable lyrics, and in my humble opinion, it’s pretty much the perfect song for those late night summer drives.
Personally, what I loved about Heart Beats Pacific was its ability to tell a story, and that’s a trait that really starts to shine through as Souvenir progresses. Letterbox really stands out for me on a lyrical level; I’m a sucker for a song that screams both youth and nostalgia and this song does exactly that. Shoreline is a slightly slower, chilled out song, with classic themes of both sentiment and drinking, whilst Hold Fast is an almost startling contrast to the clean-cut sound the majority of the new record boasts, this upbeat song reflects the disorder that Banner Pilots overall sound usually holds.
Springless has a delicately smooth and somewhat finished sound, reflecting the hard work that clearly went into the making of this album. It can be incredibly hard to create a fresh record that stays true to an original and well-known sound, but this song proves that the band are capable of not only that, but more. Closing track Summer Ash reinforces this notion, opening with melodious and soft vocals and an addictively sluggish bass line, before diving into an unforgettable chorus.
Overall, Souvenir is the perfect example of what’s achievable when you really put your heart and soul into a record. Whilst it’s not the choppy, raw record that Heart Beats Pacific was, and it’s not the rough, kick ass album that Collapser was, it’s definitely proof that Banner Pilot are forever honing their overall sound, and there is nothing wrong with keeping a welcoming fan base on the tip of their toes.