12 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Eight years after her last album of original material, Patti Smith returns with a collection that's among the most musical of her career. She's certainly earned her revered-elder status, having recently won the National Book Award for nonfiction for her memoir Just Kids—but Banga is no exercise in nostalgia. The Italian group Casa del Vento and guitarists Tom Verlaine and Jack Petruzzelli add a musicality that's sometimes been missing in her punkish approach. "Amerigo" features Smith's spoken word, beginning with Europe's discovery of America as the New World. "April Fool" enjoys a wealth of tonal colors from guitars and keyboards. "This Is the Girl" and "Maria" follow in Smith's tradition of feting icons, with the tender ballads memorializing, respectively, Amy Winehouse and the late actress Maria Schneider. The title track plays as fierce, tribal rock 'n' roll, though much of the album uses a subtler approach. "Mosaic" modifies the tribal effect with a gentleness that's Smith's true forte. Her cover of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" is a reverent rendition that Smith sings in her lower range, where Young once sang it at the top of his. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

Eight years after her last album of original material, Patti Smith returns with a collection that's among the most musical of her career. She's certainly earned her revered-elder status, having recently won the National Book Award for nonfiction for her memoir Just Kids—but Banga is no exercise in nostalgia. The Italian group Casa del Vento and guitarists Tom Verlaine and Jack Petruzzelli add a musicality that's sometimes been missing in her punkish approach. "Amerigo" features Smith's spoken word, beginning with Europe's discovery of America as the New World. "April Fool" enjoys a wealth of tonal colors from guitars and keyboards. "This Is the Girl" and "Maria" follow in Smith's tradition of feting icons, with the tender ballads memorializing, respectively, Amy Winehouse and the late actress Maria Schneider. The title track plays as fierce, tribal rock 'n' roll, though much of the album uses a subtler approach. "Mosaic" modifies the tribal effect with a gentleness that's Smith's true forte. Her cover of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" is a reverent rendition that Smith sings in her lower range, where Young once sang it at the top of his. 

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