BNLX broke onto the local scene back in March, based on word-of-mouth recommendations, a couple of killer mp3s, and cryptic press releases that read more like robotic quarterly reports than a legitimate marketing campaign. But the music on EP #1 was good enough to grab listeners' attention, whether or not they knew who was involved in the project. It gradually became clear that the mysterious "organic members" of BNLX, e.a. and a.a., are indeed husband-and-wife duo Ed and Ashley Ackerson of Polara and the Mood Swings, respectively; and the explosive couple are back with EP #2, another stellar four-song collection filled with tense, propulsive numbers that are truly unlike any other sounds currently being made in the Twin Cities. The album is heavier, edgier, and more fitful, and is bound to bring the band more well-deserved attention while we all await their next tempestuous live performance—as well as their next EP, which is due out in September. The current release bursts out of the gate with the dynamic "Where Is the Love," a turbulent three-minute rock song that is as infectious as it is refreshing; it's about time this sort of cocksure attitude and relentless intensity returns to the Minneapolis music scene. "Where Is the Love" represents the best locally produced song I've heard all year, and gets the EP off to a sensational start. "Got Needs" keeps the momentum going and the volume amplified, mocking the owners of expensive cars and their first-world problems over an incessant rhythm and an urgent, desperate chorus. The ominous bass line of "Espionage" is reminiscent of Joy Division, creating a menacing mood that is only enhanced by the repetitive, demanding lyrics threaded throughout the spirited track. The EP is just over 12 minutes long, and each song ends exactly when it needs to. "Frogger (laissez les bon temps rouler)" closes things out strongly, with the bouncy melody and sing-songy French lyrics crafting an inviting atmosphere that is betrayed by the song's harsher, noisier elements, creating a sonic dichotomy that is arresting and impressive. BNLX are about to enter into what they refer to as "Phase 3" of their "First One Year" plan, which includes a U.S. tour and the aforementioned upcoming EP; as enigmatic and arcane as the band attempt to remain, the overwhelming power and originality of their music rings loud and clear. The stock of this self-described "music entity" is clearly on the rise, and Q3 and Q4 of 2010 should be very rewarding for this distinctive and innovative band.
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