Banquets Top Button, Bottom Shelf

Banquets Top Button, Bottom Shelf
Banquets demonstrated off some serious songwriting on their EP, This Is Our Concern, Dude, a year ago, attacking their craft with the passion normally reserved for music much more aggressive than their brash, hooky pop-punk. But even with fair warning, the Jersey City quartet's debut full-length is a jolt upon first listen. Featuring more than just improved production, Banquets' songs sound like the layered post-punk pop tunes Jimmy Eat World might have been trying for immediately post-Clarity before taking a sleeker (though still good) path altogether. "Sound of Money" shows off the band's penchant for bait-and-switching conventional structures with jagged rhythms and subtle breakdowns, and "Unforgiven V" proves nothing's too hard for some sick harmonies. The balance Banquets have struck isn't unlike what we heard on the Menzingers' stellar 2010 album, Chamberlain Waits: airtight songwriting given the room to be a little vulnerable, with energy and sounds bigger than a recording studio. (Black Numbers)