Bantams – ‘Turn Heel’

The third album from Bantams, Turn Heel melds new-wave, rock, and synth-pop sentiments with a knack for hooky structural turns. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Rathke formed the project in 2015, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and their first single “Honestly” released that August. They have released multiple albums since then, including 2019’s self-produced Gettysburg Sorority.

“Rated Rko” struts a debonair rock entrancement, as various guitar layers emerge in the vocal escalation from spoken-word narration into expressive backing adornments. The wah-wah hook is inventive and replay-inducing, as trickling guitars and vocal intrigue assemble for a memorable infectiousness. Meanwhile, “Jim Vegas” meshes chamber-pop symphonics and arcade nostalgia into a twangy rock delight, with the yearning “want you,” conclusion resonating in its fuzzy momentum into the bass-y suave concluding.

From the spacey intrigue of “Big Time” to the bursting rock ardency within three-movement epic “City Dionysia,” Turn Heel is a thoroughly impressive album from Bantams.

Stream the album in full:

These and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Emerging Singles’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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