BLACK BANANAS open for Sleigh Bells at the Phoenix on March 26. See listing. Rating: NNN
Listening to Rad Times Xpress IV, the "debut" album from Black Bananas, we get the distinct sense we're being trolled. The album synthesizes all the gaudiest, most over-the-top elements of rock and roll's last three decades into a cluttered, self-consciously strutting stew of ZZ Top boogie, Mötley Crüe sleaze, Some Girls-era Stones disco-funk and - why the hell not? - T-Pain Auto-Tune voice modulation.
The result serves as a definition of "hot mess," an all-over-the-place Heavy Metal throwback (the movie, not the genre) that begs to be trashed by critics. But as always, lead singer Jennifer Herrema (formerly of Royal Trux and RTX, a group with the same lineup as Black Bananas) commits to the material with irresistible charisma and cool. It's garish and gross but undeniably fun, an audacious train wreck of an album that's hard not to enjoy.
Top track: Hot Stupid