Minneapolis duo BNLX, led by Flowers Studio owner and indie rock vet Ed Ackerson (27 Various, Polara), are back with their first record since 2015’s Good LIght. It’s a return to the EP format that birthed the band — X is their 10th record in the format — and it is where they really excel. They haven’t altered their sound one iota — fuzzed out rock that draws from ’80s and ’90s influences that are easily spotted — but they do it so well and with a real sense of joy it doesn’t matter if you’ve heard it all before. Plus, Ackerson is a really savvy arranger — there’s a lot more going on in these songs than you may initially realize.
There is some definite post-election venting in the lyrics — there are shouts of “Deplorables!” on opening cut “Hit After Hit” — but BNLX never lose their sense of humor which is one of their secret weapons. My favorite song on the record is their cover of The Pink Faries’ “Do It,” a one-chord jam workout where things get pretty weird in the second half thanks to SAVAK’s Sohrab Habibion (solo guitar and Frippertronics) and Monsterland’s Greg Vegas on sax. The EP finishes with a cover of Wire’s 2017 single “A Short Elevated Period” which they turn, slightly, into a party anthem. This record is fun, which is a commodity in short supply these days.