Seal Beach, California's finest RX Bandits are back after a long hiatus with their brand new studio effort titled Gemini, Her Majesty. The follow up to 2009's Mandala finds the groove laden rockers trying something different for a change, but still maintaining their trademark RX Bandits sound that drew them so many fans from back in their Drive Thru heyday, and ones who still resonate and support the group to this very day.
We start it all of with "Ruby Cumulous", a prog rock sounding number with frontman Matt Embree's vocals adding a feeling of comfort and familiarity to begin our musical journey and bodes well for the rest of the effort to follow. "Stargazer" is another expansive number with spaced out guitar licks and handsome drum work brought forth by Chris Tsagakis who has done a great deal for the band and contributes the band's hallmark percussion that has been a definition of their sound for years. "Fire To The Ocean" may be a little different sounding than past RX material, but it has that willingness to go beyond the boundaries and try something different for change which is a strength and quality that some artists struggle with from time to time but these guys learn to adapt pretty quickly.
The second half starts off nicely with "Will You Be Tomorrow" a soft, whispering number that really nails it with ambient instrumentation and the fine programming work of Steve Choi who also swings a mean guitar from time to time, and adds a great deal of dexterity and character to RX's sound that would sound radically different if it was absent. "Meow! Meow! Space Tiger" is my favorite track off the album that pulls the collective talents of everyone gathered into one spaced out, consciouslly constructed track that shows what these guys are made out. From the fine bass work of Joe Troy to Matt's glorious sounding vocals, this track has everything you could possibly ask for and is a haven for longtime RX fans to marvel over. The album begins to usher out with "Penguin Marlon Brando", an unheralded gem that you can listen to over and over again, and just marvel over at how pristine this sounds and has that trademark wisdom instilled within its mainframe that deserves to be played over and over again. "Future, Buddy" ends it all here much like the same way it began, but combines the band's old sound with its new aesthetic introduced earlier that is an intriguing combo when heard in its finished form, and speaks to mind about the creative juices flowing within the group and their willingness to try new things that have set them apart immensely from the other groups that came before them. I've always respected the Bandits over the years for constantly reinventing themselves and honing their sound into something that truly speaks to the voice of the twenty something crowd who have grown with the band over the years and will definitely find a common ground with this album, much like they have with the others.
All in all, a well thought out return to form from RX Bandits, who have shown that they'll not go quietly into the night with rumors of their demise greatly exaggerated and back into the welcome and open arms of their fans who knew deep down they would return on their own terms with this solid effort.
Fire To The Ocean
Will You Be Tomorrow
Meow! Meow! Space Tiger
Penguin Marlin Brando