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  • Banga
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4.7 out of 5 stars
41
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 6 June 2012
This is a gorgeous album in all respects!
The package of this 'deluxe' edition is in the format of a proper hard back book, complete with dust jacket, the CD housed in a card sleeve/page at the rear, which appears to be quite durable and ok. The lyrics and writings by Patti are beautifully presented as are the numerous black & white photographs that accompany them. It is quality.

The music:
Well this is a definite progression from it's two brilliant predecessors 'Gone Again' & 'Trampin' and shows off a measured maturity whilst still managing not to sound staged or boring or too 'polished' - she somehow manages to retain plenty of her usual edginess.

The 10.19 minute colossus that is 'Constantine's Dream' is by far my favourite track at the moment and is truly hypnotic and powerful, a 'bit' like 'Gandhi' in stature but less overtly angry. (I say 'at the moment' as is usually the case with Patti's albums that they are so multi faceted and have such depth that my favouritism varies with the passage of time & circumstance). Bearing this latter effect in mind, I can tell this album is going to be a long lasting and ever increasing favourite among my collection. You immediately know quality when you hear it, even if you also immediately know that much of it has yet to reveal itself to you.

Her voice seems to just get better & better and the instrumentation is just so blooming good!

All in all this is an utter delight, well worth the money and to anyone who likes Patti Smith it is absolutely ESSENTIAL!
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on 14 July 2012
Having only heard Horses from her oeuvre I therefore do not count myself as a fan of Patti Smith. Being a music fan who always appreciates the music before the lyrics may explain why I didn't appreciate Horses as much as most did and, consequently, why I always preferred the early albums of the New York scene's other punk pioneers, the Ramones, Television, Blondie and the Talking Heads. So it is all the more surprising that I actually like Banga so much. Ordinarily, I wouldn't even have listened to it but it was chosen as the album of the month in our local music club so listen to it I had to. Yes of course it is as lyrical and poetic as you'd expect (how good it is on these counts, I'll leave it to others to say) but it is the music that impresses this listener. The melodies are strong on the sung tracks and where her vocals are spoken, the musical accompaniment is spot on. A good example of the latter is on the longest track, the 10 minute plus Constantine's Dream. Normally, I would find such tracks boring and self indulgent but with a fine musical track to back it, it works well. Other stand out tracks for me are the semi sung/semi vocal opener, Amerigo, and the wonderfully folky Nine which, appropriately is the ninth track (do you see what they did there?). My admiration for Banga shows that you don't have to be a Patti Smith fan to like it and I recommend it to all who have reached the end of this review.
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on 27 July 2012
Great album marvellous thought provoking lyrics played by excellent musicians , gets better with each play. I recommend the special edition comes with a beautful hardback book which is a good read and the extra track kids . Patti never disappoints and now for the tour in September.
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on 15 September 2015
Bought the special edition as it came with a book. However the book isn't anything special, just lyrics, a few notes from Patti and some very boring photos. Would not recommend spending extra money on the special edition, however do buy the CD (not Patti's best but still some good stuff on there), therefore I've given 4 stars for the music and would if I could only 1 star for the book.
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on 10 July 2012
I disagree, obviously, with most of the reviews so far posted. Patti Smith was one of my heroines back in the late 1970s and her early albums, especially Radio Ethiopia, will always keep a special place in my heart and mind. However, whereas I've grown up since then, Patti Smith hasn't. Here we have the same old stuff, now verging on the pretentious. Religious overtones don't contstitue depth, Patti, and your name dropping is becoming tiresome and cringe-worthy. You were once great; sadly now you're not. This is boring regurgitation of the same old themes and ideas and the music and your singing is nothing innovative either. Very disappointing and nothing new.
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on 26 June 2012
What a superb record! What an artist! I've had it for over a week now and I've had to start to ration its rotation as I don't want to get sick of it. The record is so full of interesting places and flavours that I want to savour and discover slowly. And what a band she has with her on this mission! An incredible team of collaborators. Whether you know much about Patti Smith or not, Banga reminds the world of what a superb artist she is. I hate to use cliches like 'carrying the torch' and 'they don't make them like this anymore', but there is a sense that she's bringing qualities from another era. A time when people used to read books perhaps, when music could change things and was something that people were serious about. When you had to actually WORK for something, instead of buying it on your credit card. Let's just say we're damn lucky to have artists of her integrity and calibre around. The world is a much more 'grounded' and honest place with Patti Smith in it.

I'd also recommend her previous album 'Trampin', which I've recently got into as a result of Banga. What a purple patch she'e enjoying at the moment! Good on you Patti.
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on 25 July 2012
Sorry to begin a review with a cliche, but this is a great album. With a gift token burning a hole in my account, I bought this album on the basis of other reviews, and I was not disappointed. What I mean by the title, is the union of the spoken word/singing voice and the music. Like Neil Young,Patti's voice is undiminished by age, similarly her muse. Constantine's dream is an epic of epic proportions, not pretensions. As an art lover, I now have an urge to see this picture, and get more of an insight into the song. As a bonus, the wonderful Tom Verlaine plays wonderful guitar on two tracks.
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on 8 June 2012
Well, according to the extensive notes in this beautifully packaged edition, this CD was recorded and written across the world - many locations, many times, many people. Yet, the end result is a cohesive piece of work that sounds like the band were in the studio together. And the songs, well the signature passion, mysticism, religious leanings, friends, life, death - they're all there and from that point of view, no surprise. But, I think they sound more polished, even 'poppier' than recent offerings. This is right up there with my favourite PS albums. Of course, it's different to Horses and Easter, there's a lot of time and people passed between then and now, but this album evokes their spirit and lives up to their challenge.
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on 20 June 2013
The Great Patti Smith never fails to show just what greatness of heart and art can achieve. Maybe you won't be able to hum along to these tunes, but you could SHOUT them out loud. Love you Patti - and thanks for the gig at Shepherd's Bush...
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on 10 June 2012
This a superb album of strong songs, musicianship, excellent writing and expession of emotions and ideas from Patti Smith (and band). A delight and wonder to enjoy and contemplate as its 'contents' unfold. In reply to S Conway, Just Kids (the bonus track) ,is an excellent song in its own right with a strong drum beat (makes the hairs on your neck stand-up). Possibley one of the albums of the year.
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