Album of the Week: Slingshot Dakota – Heavy Banding

As Lorde reaches the halfway point of her show, just before she plays ‘Liability’, she takes a pew and launches into a huge speech: “It was such a simple thing, a million people had been in that situation before me, had been sitting in the back of a taxi, listening to a sad song, crying and hoping the driver doesn’t notice them. Leaning against the window and feeling like the loneliness was going to break them apart. And feeling like they would never meet anyone who wouldn’t leave because sometimes it feels like that, like everyone is going to be like ‘this is too much.’ I feel like that every day of my life, when you’re a multi-coloured person, when you make stuff it’s easy to feel like you’re too much and to that I say, fuck ‘em.” 

Husband-and-wife duo Slingshot Dakota found themselves grappling with the same insecurities following the release of their last album, 2016’s ‘Break.’ Recounting those times in an interview with The Grey Estates, singer/keyboardist Carly Comando says “In the past me and Tom would be like ‘we’re not cool.” The loved up couple duo story wasn’t attractive to journalists and the Pennsylvania duo began to question if they were ‘too weird.’ Following a elongated break, Carly had an awakening, realising that so many artists and bands deserved better, causing Slingshot Dakota to pen a new chapter of self-discovery. That chapter is new album, Heavy Banding – a ballsy, personification of Lorde’s ‘fuck ‘em’ speech.

Indeed, Carly and Tom now represent the meaning of ‘too much’; on ‘Heavy Banding’s’ front cover they look sickly in love as Carly leans in for a kiss, while on Twitter they often update followers on the wild shag they just had. 

Then there’s the music. With keyboard structures straight out of Hollywood, emotive vocals rawer than a hungry child and drums that fire you from a cannon, Slingshot Dakota make music that has literally no shame. Opening singer ‘Louder’ could not have been a bolder indication of what was to come. A rallying call to break down the structures they were once constrained within, ‘Louder’ reduces to drumstick claps and the fuzz of a guitar as Comando whispers ‘we’ll just keep getting louder’ again and again until she shouts it so loud that it becomes a statement rather than an intention. 

For the majority it’s anthemic power pop, here for you when you wake up on a Thursday thinking it’s Friday. Upset and heartbreak still reside here though, on ‘Day After Christmas’ Comando helplessly sings ‘But I can’t take care of you, because I’m broken too,’ while closer ‘North Side’ finds Comando, desperately pleading ‘promise you visit me’ over absolutely no instrumentation. Standout ‘Weird Like Me’ is set to sound from the bedrooms of teenagers failing to make the ‘popular kids’ cut, while organ led ‘Casino Night’ has you eating from their hands.

Ultimately ‘Heavy Banding’ never lets up. It’s a heady, bombastic collection of songs drowning in sentimentality. To all the doubters, Slingshot Dakota sing Lorde’s words ‘You’re all gonna watch me disappear into the sun.’ And it’s deafening!

Heavy Banding is out now on Community Records and Specialist Subject Records

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