Wow! BNLX are overwhelming me right now. What started out as an introduction via Big Takeover magazine (Produit Collecté landed at #26 in Jack Rabid’s semi-annual top 40 in the most recent issue - #74) has turned into an onslaught of new music to listen to. This late 2013 album is actually a kind of best of collection culled from this Minneapolis trio’s first eight (EIGHT?!) EP’s and now I’m frantically trying to catch up.
It turns out that vocalist/guitarist Ed Ackerson has a long history in music. He’s the co-founder of the indie label Susstones, former frontman of Polara (who I have faint memories of hearing at some point), and long time producer and engineer by way of his Flowers Studio. Thankfully, this history hasn’t dulled his creativity, because BNLX is brimming with exciting and absolutely electric songs. BNLX is comprised of Ackerson, bassist/vocalist Ashley Ackerson and drummer David Jarnstrom and this trio lock down into some seriously tight good old fashioned Midwest post-punk.
What makes BNLX’s Produit Collecté so refreshing is the simple way they touch on all kinds of underground genres with such ease. Even though these 14 songs are culled from eight different releases and all kinds of different sounds, they seamlessly fit together. I guess the most obvious touchstone is their fantastic sing-along trade-off vocals of the Ackerson’s that hint at early X or even Eleventh Dream Day. But I cannot emphasize enough how great it is to hear music like this again. Listening to this collection reminds me of tuning into an especially great stretch of college radio back in the late 80s, where one might run into straight ahead US punk rock pounders like “Rise Above” and “Vaporize,” or a UK raincoat rock song that brings in beautiful atmospheric guitar textures and dreamy bass-lines like “Blue and Gold.” I can easily imagine recent song (opening song from EP #8) “Opposites Attract” getting airplay on MTV’s 120 Minutes with its three minutes of a dance beat, squalling guitar line, and addictive chorus. And speaking of addictive, every song they seem to write is freaking catchy as can be and there is a sense of fun. They aren’t afraid to throw their own name in to a song (“BNLX Today”), or even the video game “Frogger,” or write a deadpan text message inspired song titled “LMAO (CMEO),” whose shout-along chorus is once again flawlessly fun and will get endlessly stuck in your head – and in this case, that’s a great thing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing highs that come from repeated listens to the soaring “Where is the Love,” the relentless 50s shuffle via industrial feedback beauty that is “Over the Horizon,” and the breathtaking “You Left Me Here.” Really, this collection improves with each listen.
Oh, how do I love this! I am late to the game and, as I mentioned earlier, am in the process of trying to catch up with this band. What I haven’t mentioned is that purchase of Produit Collecté will arrive with a download of all 32 songs from the eight EP’s – totaling 32 songs!!! This is why I am so overwhelmed. There is so much great music that it actually takes some time to absorb it all. BNLX also released a debut full length LP back in 2012, which I need to get next, because it sounds as great as all of this. I cannot recommend this enough – it is never too late to discover incredible music.
BNLX "Opposites Attract"