Patti Smith is one of the few artists who has been elevated past the scrutiny of taste. She’s reached a level where it doesn’t really matter what she does or how successful her releases are because her legacy has already been cemented in history.

Despite this, or maybe because of this, Smith keeps releasing primo material and her latest release, Banga is another great example of this.

Her first record since 2012’s Twelve, Smith’s latest offering is said to have been inspired by “unique dreams and observations”, which comes across quite obviously when listening to the album – especially on the more down tempo tracks such as ‘This Is The Girl’.

Smith’s love of spoken word is also appreciable on Banga. The album kicks off with her smokey voice speaking on top of quiet piano and a steady drum beat before launching into tuneful, and actually, very pretty singing.

The  first half of the album follows suit with no big surprises. Come the title track, however, Smith returns to the rock-goddess many expect. Classic rock guitars, coupled with a sample of a dog barking launch the latter half of the album into a style that’s more diverse than one would expect.

Smith knows what works and she does it all incredibly well. The best part of Banga, is that Smith knows she doesn’t owe her audience anything anymore and as a result, she’s become free to play around more and give us all a diverse, and thoroughly enjoyable record.

– Esther Semo

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