Most supergroup projects are disappointing and uninspired. That’s just a strange statistical reality. But thankfully there are exceptions and BNQT is one of them. BNQT (pronounced: Banquet — I know the whole leaving out the vowels band title thing is so over baked at this point) is essentially the band Midlake, with guest vocalists getting a chance to co-write and sing on two songs each. Jason Lytle of Granddaddy, Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferndinand, Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses, and Fran Healy of Travis.
It’s the sort of musical experiment that could go horribly wrong, but I think what keeps it all unified while still stretching to the talents of the various singer-songwriters, is the solid foundation that the guys of Midlake provide. They’re like the funk-brothers of alternative 90s bands.
It would be so easy to pick a Jason Lytle song here. His two songs, “Failing at Feeling” and “100 Million Miles” are lovely and could be Granddaddy outtakes. But the song that stands out for me on an album loaded with standouts, is the Alex Kapranos-led “Hey Banana.” It’s very silly, a bit creepy, with a classic, 60s psychedelic vibe to it. Alex is giving the song his best Jim Morrison impression, and the strings and horns that build and fill out the song during the choruses take it from the wacky and elevate it to fully formed. For me: one of the best songs of the year.
The prerecorded voices at the end — a child and a woman both whispering, “I love you banana” is perfectly odd and so fitting for a song this catchy and lyrically both obtuse and unsubtle:
Hey banana, how you doing?
Hey banana, hey
Hey banana, won’t you stay, won’t you lay down with me?
Down with me?
So stop what you’re doing
You gotta stop what you’re doing
If you don’t get down
I’m gonna knock you down
I don’t wanna have to do that
But I’ll knock you down
No need for psychoanalysis on this one. Just enjoy it and dance along in your PJ and slippers. The perfect song for a cold winter morning.