Cover image for Electric brick wall
Electric brick wall
Black Bananas (Musical group)
Publication Information:
Chicago, IL : Drag City, [2014]

Physical Description:
1 audio disc : digital, CD audio ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.
Powder 8 eeeeeeeeight -- Dope on an island -- Hey rockin' -- Physical emotions -- Highway down -- Eve's child -- Ride the chump -- Give it to me -- Creeping the line -- Old gold chain -- Bullshit and lies.
Format :
Music CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ROCK .B627165 E Compact Disc Open Shelf
ROCK .B627165 E Compact Disc Central Library

On Order



With each release, Jennifer Herrema's music seems to become more itself: the song and album titles get more cleverly stupid, while the layers of distortion increasingly rival the thickness of her bangs. On Electric Brick Wall, her fifth post-Royal Trux album and her second with Black Bananas, she and her bandmates get even wilder with their hybrids of rock, electro, and funk. They also get a lot noisier: the album's title is almost certainly a nod to the maximum gain sound of a brickwall limiter, and that's reflected in Electric Brick Wall's claustrophobically dense sound. Everything clamors to be at the top of the mix, and Herrema's vocals are almost swallowed up entirely, which is no mean feat. But if the impenetrable production values add to the impression that Electric Brick Wall's songs are teetering on the brink of chaos, they also reaffirm that this is Black Bananas' natural habitat. "Dope on an Island" sounds like two or three songs playing at the same time; "Highway Down"'s blurry guitar solo feels like the collective emanation of every dive bar in the world, and the dense, snarling "Hey Rockin" feels like it could've been a Royal Trux song several lifetimes ago, but the chopped-up vocal samples and handclaps place it firmly in Black Bananas territory. Electric Brick Wall is the band's most condensed music in more ways than one; besides its dense sonics, the songwriting is more compact, giving songs like "Ride the Chump"'s deconstructed stomp an appealingly cartoony feel. Herrema and company dive deeper into the funk and electro influences that energized Rad Times Xpress IV, resulting in standouts such as "Physical Emotions," a blissfully slippery and sparkling number that just might be the sexiest moment in her songbook (though "Give It to Me"'s funk-pop is a close second). Somewhat paradoxically given its in-your-face sound, Electric Brick Wall also delivers some of her most emotionally direct music. Melancholy permeates the album's second half, spanning "Creeping Out of Line"'s decaying electro to the heavier and more sinister terrritory of "Old Gold Chains" and "Bullshit and Lies." All of the moods and sounds swirling through the album come together beautifully on "Eve's Child," one of two collaborations with former Trux partner Neil Hagerty. A glittering electro-rock epic that gets more bittersweet as it unfurls, it offers a profound moment amongst the trashy fun and reaffirms that Black Bananas are just as good at capturing the lows as well as the highs. Noisy yet nuanced, Electric Brick Wall delivers some of the high points of Herrema's discography. ~ Heather Phares