"Dreams Upon the Mast" is now available !
The band’s approach, of course, remains the same take on sixties psych as always - that is, their influences pour out all over the place, but it’s what the Bananas do with them that matters. Namely, kick things off with a Flamin’ Groovies groove (“Silver Heels”), before joining “Dr Kane’s Arctic Expedition,” a number that, for no apparent reason, reminds Spin Cycle of something David Bowie might have written for Heathen. None of which sounds especially psychedelic but ha! Isn’t that the secret?
Besides, “Be An Ant” has a lovely Floydian (or, more accurately, Syd Barrett circa “Late Night”) peel to it, and the Sydish air clings, too, to “The Daredevil of Niagara Falls,” before “The Wheatfield” goes all banjo on us. The epic this time, however, might well be “Run to the Night,” a loping number with just the faintest ghost of a garage-locked Procol Harum around the instrumentation, and D and C’s voices trading off lines like there’s no tomorrow.
So, their best yet? Naturally. But it’s just as accurate to say the Striped Bananas have yet to make an album that isn’t their best, and you know what the worst job in modern rock would be? Trying to compile their greatest hits album. So far, it’s six CDs long. It will probably get larger than that.
Goldmine Magazine - October 2021 - Dave Thompson
The Striped Bananas are back with their fifth album, Pictures I Hear - 12 more tremendous slabs of garage, fuzz and psych that arrive in perfect time for the summer months, and with especially perfect timing for the world in which we now seem to live...'Skip's Axe' is a soaring tribute to Skip Spence; the earwormy 'Live This Day' feels like it fell out of the box marked 1967 that you keep on top of the wardrobe, and landed on top of your REM collection; and 'Never Too Far' is a jangle and harmony laden cover of a Tim Hardin song that, well, who knew it could be improved upon? So one more great album to line up alongside the rest of their catalog, and the Striped Bananas remain among the best of the modern psych bunch.
Goldmine Magazine - September 2020 issue - Dave Thompson
Worshipping at the altar of Their Satanic Majesties-era Stones and Smile-time Beach Boys, the band's sound charts an oddly-engaging brand of melancholy baroque-psych ballad which sees sitar swooping across "Dark Peace" and mysterioso organ lacing "Lady Sunshine" as Byrdsian harmonies sporadically take flight under Duncan Shepard's doleful vocals.
While the sleeve may leave you expecting some sort of San Francisco jam band explosion, the reality is more along the lines of the less instrumentally intricate and more song-orientated sixties West Coast outfits like the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, with a touch of "Butterfly" era Hollies creeping in on the more psych-pop inclined tracks, as well as the odd moment of garage fuzz that may not reach Seeds levels (few do), but are certainly reminiscent of early Electric Prunes...
The Active Listener