When the words "consistent quality" are used in a musical context, one of the names that immediately springs to mind is Patti Smith, and Banga lives up to her high standards.
She's firing on all cylinders with her lyrics here – naked, menacing, poetic, profane, punning.
Exploration and change are notable themes, from the opener Amerigo to the finale, a cover of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, but April Fool has Smith in a cruisy romantic mood, and Tarkovsky (The Second Stop is Jupiter) finds her floating on shimmering clouds of imagination with Sun Ra.
The title track has the snarl and one-chord drive of her early classics, and she pays tribute to Amy Winehouse (This Is the Girl) and actress Maria Schneider (Maria).
Old ally Lenny Kaye provides the power behind the pumping ode to Japan, Fuji-san, and Constantine's Dream, where Smith finds comfort in a 10-minute dash across religion, art and war.
Best tracks: Fuji-san, Tarkovsky.
- Reviewed by Nick Ward. CDs supplied by Everyman, Nelson.
- © Fairfax NZ News