Patti Smith – Banga

Musician, poet, artist, writer, performer, photographer, Patti Smith has been and is all of these things and more. Since her still stunning debut ‘Horses’ she has been a constant in quality, ingenuity and heart. Her sheer openness, observations and ability to convey these is what stands her head and shoulders above her peers. So then to ‘Banga’ her first new music for 8 years and a record that was so worth the wait. From the opening ‘Amerigo’ with its breathed vocals and soft strummed guitar through to the closing Neil Young cover of ‘After the Gold Rush’ it is an amazing collection of songs meditating on everything from love to death, natural disasters to discovery, art to Amy Winehouse, all in the indicative style you would expect from Smith. Backed by her constantly superb band the song styles range from the mellow ‘April Fool’ to the full on ‘Banga’ but always underpinned by Smith’s beautifully thought out lyrics and her distinctive voice. Every track here is individual in its own way and the ten minute stand-out track ‘Constantine’s Dream’ is a perfect example, a stream of consciousness or as Smith herself calls it an improvisational meditation, it poses questions upon questions about the role of artists in society and therefore within that Smith must surely be questioning herself. So if constantly thinking, pushing and questioning is the fuel to her fire then Smith should carry on, but we as the audience should never question the excellence of her work and ‘Banga’ is another fine example of a true artist edging ever closer to ultimate perfection.

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