REVIEW: BANQUET – Jupiter Rose (2016)


San Franciscans who are making pregnant women’s water break

Press releases that come with albums are amazing works of art. Sometimes it’s a pleasure to publish them, sometimes we don’t understand them, and sometimes they are absolutely wonderful pieces of prose that are worthy of elucidation.

Just sometimes they are all those things and more, take this. This is the opening paragraph of the the blurb that came with this, the seven track debut album from Banquet.

“The once fruitful rock’n’roll city of San Francisco is now a barren womb, fraught with the lasting effects of technological herpes. Thankfully, a polyp known as BANQUET was formed and now screeching for freedom from the womb’s clutches. With dual-ripping lead guitars, howling vocals and a rhythm section that can make a pregnant woman’s water break, BANQUET are raising the flag for San Francisco’s rock’n’roll”

And I’ll bet now you’ve read that you are keen to know what the album is like, right?!

Well, you are in luck, because “Jupiter Rose” matches those words.

The collection – as you might expect – isn’t concerned with modernity in any way whatsoever, rather, the world to world to Banquet is one where fuzzy guitars swirl and baselines swing and if your singer can wail then, dammit, he’s gonna.

It’s a heads down, flares on riff fest from the get-go and “Mastermind” ensures no stone is left unturned while looking for a groove. Likewise “Sword Of Damocles” likes the idea so much it does the whole thing all over again – adding more guitar solos, slightly more swagger, oh and a dash of psychedelica for a grin.

After all that, yeah the die might be cast, but it’s got a winning score. “Run To You” is shot through with something approaching what Mos Generator might try, while “Set Me Free” knows it was born three decades too late, but isn’t bothered in the slightest.

A couple of times they try to change the pace – both up and down – to this end the bluesy opening to “Burning Bridges” in particular is a treat, while the distorted bass “Touching The Grave” is magnificent. The song itself then morphs into something almost NWOBHM influenced and is a real highlight.

But not, as it turns out, the highlight. That honour belongs to its title track. Which brings a neat summation of everything that has gone before, as well as hinting a real longevity in their ranks as builds and undulates.

Banquet might already be a hearty meal, but don’t be surprised if “Jupiter Rose” is merely the starter before they really bloom.

Rating 8.5/10

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