UK PREMIERE/Dominic Valvona

3 South & Banana  ‘S/T’
(Some Other Planet)  10th April 2020

Bouncing and lolloping onto the psychedelic pop and indie scene like a Francophone Shintaro Sakamoto, Aurélien Bernard follows up a lightly-touched but infectious kaleidoscope jangle of singles with his self-titled debut album, which the Monolith Cocktail is thrilled to be premiering in the UK today.

Swapping the drum stool and tenure with the sunny-disposition Vadoinmessico – leaving as the band transitioned into Cairobi – for a polymath solo career, the French born, Berlin-based, Bernard has an idiosyncratic musical style; weaving a cantaloupe gait and a lyrical mix of French and English vocals together in a colourful, often fun, way. The odd moniker, 3 South & Banana, is itself the result of a comedic misunderstanding: a mistranslation if you will. Though Bernard has a most excellent annunciation, if accented.

Lilted but wasting no time, the new album opens with a kind of show time introduction to the Frenchman’s world of breezy backbeat new wave, and a sound that can only be described as psychedelic grunge pop. In a similar vein, there’s the jangly, quick tightened drum rolls surfy-wavy Clor-esque ‘BlaBlaBla’; a former single that carries a Theremin aria leitmotif that can be found suffused throughout the entire album, and the bubbly, crosstown interchange merger of The Rapture and 80s Jonathan Richman ‘Rush Hour’.

But there’s also a lot of even gentler dreamy tunes to enjoy; like the Les Baxter thumbs a lift aboard The Beach Boys inflatable lilo as it drifts towards Polynesian waters ‘Bâtons Mêlés’, and the yacht rock with shades of Air vaporous kissing game ‘KittyKat Happy BadSad’.

Radiant, oceanic, translucent and even cosmic with a Gallic shrug of wistful fatalism, the 3 South & Banana cosmos of rooftop fauna wonderment is a swell place to be in these dark, uncertain times. And so behold this psychedelic pop light.

I absolutely love this album, and so should you.

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Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.