Tight harmonies and modern American Folk Stylings from talented trio
Bandits on the Run are a New York based indie-folk band, who lean towards a certain whimsy – the trio are Roy Dodger, Bonanza Jellyfish, and Clarissa – or, as their folks know them, Adrian Blake Enscoe (guitar), Sydney Shepherd (cello) and Regina Strayhorn (accordion, melodica, glockenspiel). All three also contribute to the layers of vocal harmony – with an equal sharing out of the lead vocal duties. Their six-song EP was crafted whilst the pandemic was getting in the way of other things such as touring and the group’s parallel acting careers. Add exuberance, and Bandits on the Run have great measures of this, to the mix and you have something that’s infectious, in a good way. First song ‘We Battle Giants‘ is full of kick-drum stomp on a description of all the adventures that love requires: “You’re adventurous, and curious, and wonder what the top of every mountain looks like / I follow you to great heights / And we could hang out anywhere / but you want to hang out up there.” Cleverly it works on both levels – the literal and the metaphorical – it could indeed be an ode to fell & cave or there could be something else going on in the rhythms of “if you move I move / if you move I move / one – two / one – two / one one two one two three four” and the declaration that “it’s my favourite thing to do…“
‘Hurricane‘ is a suitably powerful song – the rising of storm winds evokes powerful emotion in Sydney Shepherd, who is anthemically making a break for freedom. The rising passions, coupled to the rising storm force, is driven along with choppy cello. ‘Sing you to Sleep‘, with Enscoe taking the lead is a gentle love song with lullabying banjo, a plea to “let down your guard darling / …. / here it’s just you and me.” There’s a lot of love on this EP – even the closer ‘She’s the Queen‘ is a song of admiration, there’s no resentment intended in the sobriquet, quite the opposite: “she comes to me with poems and her outstretched hand /she brightens me with sunlight in her eyes.” And that’s the other aspect of the band – unfailing upbeat optimism and positivity.
In what’s becoming a crowded space for this particular strand of Modern American Folk, Bandits on the Run, with their exquisite harmonies have made a memorable contribution with ‘Now is the Time‘.