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Track-by-track review of ‘uncertain/ty’ by bandanna

Carissa Marques, Creative Services Director

You might have heard that Spinnaker Media is, “run by students for students.” That doesn’t just apply to our news department, but radio as well. Though UNF students are our target audience, we’re always happy to share the experiences and accomplishments of Florida locals, especially when it comes to new music. Bandanna, a four-piece indie-pop band formed in Tallahassee, Florida consists of Anna Griffith, Nick Bell, Mason Palanti, and Timothy Holder. The band has relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, but continues to spread their folksy harmonies wherever they go. 

Their first album, “uncertain/ty,” came out on November 13, 2020. Maybe it’s partially because of the album art, but even the lyrics give the impression that listening to this album is like looking through a scrapbook. They’re reflective and sentimental without sticking too closely to dwelling in the past.

Track-by-track review

  1. “Fish Song” – The album opens with Griffith’s soft voice and the strumming of a guitar. The song slowly builds as it nears the chorus combining the sound of indie-rock with light pop. It definitely has a nostalgic 90s feel to it, and the sound of Griffith’s voice reminds me of Dolores O’Riordan from the Cranberries. The band makes no hesitation to start singing thoughtful lyrics. One that stood out to me on this track was, “Stuck in the second, I’m counting your blessings / While you figure out that you’re home.” Given the context, I think it tells the story of looking out for a loved one while they’re struggling with personal problems. 
  2. “Sleepy Eyes” – The best way for me to describe this next track is a fun little forest tune. It reminds me of something that’s fitting for fairies sitting in a mushroom circle. Griffith sings about finding someone, perhaps a love interest, “Maybe you’re lost in your far away ocean / maybe I’m lost there with you.” The last minute or so of the song allows for the instrumentals to really shine through. I enjoyed the synthesizers that reminded me a bit of the opening to Dominic Fike’s song, “Rollerblades.” 
  3. “Stress Dream” – The third track maintains the slow pace of the album, keeping it steady for easy listening. I like the transparency of the lyrics in this song. They talk about anxiety and overthinking, something I feel most people deal with, but don’t talk about enough. One of my favorite verses was, “Anxiety comes out in overcompensation / I laugh too long and look too hard for clues in conversations.” 
  4. “Bike Song” – I think the title of this song is fitting for the album cover. The lyrics seem nostalgic of childhood days spent biking away. Instrumentally, the song follows the soft indie-rock of the rest of the album. 
  5. “Fire Escape” – This was my favorite song from the album, and there’s a reason it’s so catchy! The band originally released it as a single in 2019, and it’s at over 100,000 streams on Spotify. It’s whimsical, melodic, and has lyrics brimming with yearning. “But before this time is wasted / I wanna see if you might make it,” sings Griffith. 
  6. “Pickles” – I love songs that have lyrics so specific you know it must be so special to the writer. In “Pickles” Griffith sings, “I’ll try anything as long as I’m with you / like ninety-two percent really dark chocolate.” This song has a sadder sound with minor chords that perfectly accompany Griffith’s vocals. 
  7. “Uncertainty” – The track for which the album is named takes the indie-rock down a more folk-like path. It sounds hollow in a good way, a way that’s delicate and soft. 
  8. “Polina” – I like the use of piano throughout this song as opposed to the synthesizers in some of the other tracks. It’s sweet and music-box like with a lovely crescendo towards the end of the song. The lyrics sound like they sing of a breakup or parting, “I constantly regret not clinging to you more / I know you blame yourself for pushing me away.” 
  9. “Ghost Home” – The second to last track made its way to one of Spotify’s curated playlists, “Fresh Finds: Indie.” This song was released as a single on October 30, 2020. According to the band’s Instagram, “[Ghost Home is] an ode to the strange uncertainty of change and letting go and not knowing what to feel.”
  10.  “Epilogue” – I’ve said this before, but I really do love closing tracks that wrap up the album like a story. I think “Epilogue” does that just perfectly. The use of the sound of radio static is quite fitting for a finishing track. “When you’re holding onto thinning threads / wondering if all good things have met the end / perhaps you’re in the epilogue,” sings Griffith. There are some bold instrumentals that compliment the largely soft sound of the beginning of the album nicely. 

The production of this album is pretty incredible. From Griffith’s vocals to all the different instruments, there is a particular balance that makes each track enjoyable to listen to. The sound is crisp and clear, and you can tell the album was made with tenderness. Though the lyrics to each song are pretty short, lots of the songs dedicate time to concentrating on the instruments which is a nice take. The simplicity of the album was nice, but because of that I think I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails. I look forward to the day live music comes back because I think bandanna would be great to see perform live! 

Standout Tracks – “Fire Escape”, “Ghost Home,” and “Epilogue”

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