Now, for anyone who remembers The Last Bandoleros' debut single, “Where Do You Go?”, you might have remembered that it emulated the Mavericks of all acts. Don't get me wrong, I like the sound a lot, but that's an interesting sound to try and take after. Hell, I don't even mean in terms of just here and now. Remember, The Mavericks never really caught onto mainstream country radio, so it's no surprise (unfortunately) that The Last Bandoleros' single flamed out pretty quickly.
Now, I'm merely making assumptions here based on observations, so take them as you will. However, judging by this particular new single from the band as well as their last song, “The River Man”, it seems like the band is now going for more of a straight rock sound than Tex-Mex. The odd part is that it actually plays to their strengths pretty well, and “Fly With You” is evidence of that.
I guess we can start with the lyrical content first. Look, lyrics have never been the band's strongest asset, and I made that clear in my long lost review of their EP from last year. Still, at this point I'm wondering if I should even care, because they more than make up for it in literally every other area. As for this song, there is at least more of an effort towards crafting something unique. On the surface the song reads as a pretty average love song, but the fact that he wants to “fly” with her while rejecting other pleasure activities seems to suggest this guy wants something more out of this relationship, and that's a nice, small detail.
Again though, the lyrics hardly even matter with this band. Between the great harmonies and a band with a ton of charisma that's reflected in their performance here, you've got a whole array of other elements that do the heavy lifting. The attitude is there as the narrator asserts that he doesn't just want a quick fling from this girl. Is it a little pushy even still? Sure, but the swagger is forgivable in this instance.
Of course, the best asset to this song is the instrumentation and production. Yeah, it belongs in the genre as much as most top ten singles these days do, but I couldn't care less. The song sort of starts off sounding sort of dreamy making you think it's going to be a pretty sleepy, basic love song. Then all of a sudden that starting riff kicks in and the energy is turned up to eleven. The closest comparison to the pace and energy would be Brothers Osborne's “It Ain't My Fault”. The beat is sped up, and the guitars have an incredible amount of crunch to them to actually give them some hard rocking edge. I was definitely a fan of stripping back the pre-chorus of “give me something good, give me something real”, because it provides a nice breather moment before the stomping chorus.
So all in all, if the band is looking to pursue a more Rock oriented sound I say more power to them. If it's just a one-off thing, then hey, at least it shows they're versatile. Either way, The Last Bandoleros are quickly becoming a young band that I really want to root for. They've got a certain kind of energy to them that's hard to replicate, and while they're not the second coming of Shakespeare by any means, they're even stepping things up in the lyrical department. Considering that country radio has kind of moved on from any traces of rock (even Brantley Gilbert is struggling), I don't see this doing much on the charts, but it would be a shame if the Last Bandoleros continued to remain a secret.
Listen: "Fly With You"
Author: Zackary Kephart