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Birzer Bandana biography
BIRZER BANDANA are Brad BIRZER and Dave BANDANA. The two have never met but started a friendship after Brad reviewed an album by Dave's previous project SALANDER on his website. When SALANDER went on hiatus due to Dave moving from the UK to Lanzarote to start a new career, Dave asked Brad if he would be interested in writing a concept and lyrics for a new album. The result is 'BECOMING ONE', an album with a wide range of musical styles, but firmly rooted in prog.

Brad BIRZER : A life-long fan of progressive music, BIRZER is a former DJ as well as a current professor of history and author of four-award winning biographies. When he's not writing or teaching, he's hanging out with his huge family, exploring the wilds of America, and listening to too much prog.

Dave BANDANA : Was Dave Smith in SALANDER who released three albums in 2014 and 2015. Now an entertainer in Lanzarote. When he is not writing music or entertaining he feeds and cares for street cats on the island.

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BIRZER BANDANA discography

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BIRZER BANDANA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 11 ratings
Becoming One
2.50 | 15 ratings
Of Course It Must Be

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Of Course It Must Be by BIRZER BANDANA album cover Studio Album, 2018
2.50 | 15 ratings

Of Course It Must Be
Birzer Bandana Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

2 stars Progarchy's Brad Birzer (lyrics) and Salander's Dave Bandana (music and performance) are back with their second album, where they have again been joined by Olga Kent on violin for a few songs, plus a few other guests. I just wish that they had seen fit to bring in someone for the drums, as the use of programmed drums is still an issue for me. The songs where they are conspicuous by their absence, such as "A View", feel far more balanced and interesting. Overall, I don't feel that this album is as consistent as the debut, as while there are some interesting songs, there are others that just don't have the quality one would expect from a commercially released album, but of course this isn't: it is available free of charge through Bandcamp.

This has much more of the feeling of a self-released demo, and it is a shame as there are undoubtedly some good ideas that are striving to get out, and as I said at the time of the debut, I wish that Brad and Dave would consider turning this more into a proper band as opposed to a project with a few guests. This is laid-back, and feels just too one-dimensional in many ways, which I am sure would be different if there were others involved who could make their voices heard. Of course, with the two guys living in different countries, and Dave (who provides all the music) being in the progressive hotbed that is Lanzarote, that may not be as easy as it sounds. The frustrating thing for me is that there are some genuinely good songs on here, and the introduction to "There Again" alone is enough to get me questioning the above review, but it's just not really enough to make me change my mind. I'd love to hear a little more enthusiasm in this, and by bringing in a drummer, using Olga more, and perhaps some contrasting rock elements then this band could move to the next level, but as it is I doubt I'll be returning to this.

 Becoming One by BIRZER BANDANA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.17 | 11 ratings

Becoming One
Birzer Bandana Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Birzer Bandana are a new band, formed by Progarchy's Brad Birzer (lyrics) and Salander's Dave Bandana (music and performance). Dave provides vocals, bass, guitars, drums, drum programming, synths, piano, organ, and mellotron, with Olga Kent assisting with violin on two songs and Mick Bennett guitar on one. This is quite a mixed bag of an album, with quite a slow starter in 'Awash' which doesn't set the scene as well as it could, and it would have been better to have the second song 'The Dance' as the initial cut, as this more upbeat number is a great song with good vocals and melodies brought to life with some great violin. For some reason this is one of the numbers that definitely reminds me of late Seventies Barclay James Harvest, which can only be a good thing in my book.

From here on in the listener is taken on a pleasant journey through crossover prog, mixing pop influences with prog rock. Different ideas have been tried here and there, such as the choral introduction to '3 To 1', and the result is a pleasant varied album that has quite a lot to offer. I like the way each track segues into the next, provides an excellent transition through the album. I do think the next step for these guys is to move away from a project and more into a full band, as having a huma drummer will make a real difference to the overall sound, and I would like Olga to become far more involved as she provides an edge that cuts through the Floydian styles to good effect.

This is a promising debut album, and is probable the first one I have ever heard from Lanzarote (Dave moved there a few years ago) ' not normally an area thought of as a hotbed for progressive rock. This is certainly worth hearing, and is currently available as a free download.

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition.

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