I’m a couple of months late on reviewing this EP, but suffice to say Bantug has been on my mind for a long time. I don’t remember exactly where I heard of this eclectic pop artist for the first time. Perhaps it was on the POPSQUAD playlist expertly curated by Wes Davenport out of Nashville.
When I see cover art or an album title and then get a vibe from the songs tied to the visuals, I often get into a “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” debate with myself. Such is the case with the Red EP. “Our Apartment” awakens my inner synesthesia ever so slightly, but I question whether my expectation from the album being titled thus make this effect a self fulfilling-prophecy. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see how the album as a whole can evoke these feelings.
The feelings that come with a deep red are predictable—passion and royalty come to mind. Passion is an emotion and an action. It can tarry toward the positive or the negative. Isn’t it interesting that anger and love have the same color represented? I hear this in the music. I wouldn’t call this EP outright angry, but it definitely leans aggressive in both its texture and melody. “Find Yourself” leans almost into post-punk/darkwave territory with a distinct guitar tone. Methinks Bantug would fit in great at both a Brooklyn dive and an LA club.
“Want Out” and “Every Night” form a one-two punch that does just that—punches you. It’s a gentle series of punches, though. The latter has a haunting melody that seems to reside somewhere between heartache and comfort. “Do You See Me” does a fine job of summing up what Bantug seems to be about. Marinating the listener in a series of emotions over a mix of standout hooks and creative textures.
Bantug seems to be adept at creating songs that are malleable to the listener’s mood, too. As I was listening I read some rather heavy news about two different artists on social media, and music that might have just been relaxing with an interesting beat took on a new context in that moment.
The Red EP is something that was worth following my gut on. Do you share that feeling now? Give Bantug a follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.