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Writing - Columns

Bananacondas Embody Rock 'n' Roll Dream

Written Oct. 2011
By: Daniel Fortune

The Electric Shoes?

That was Kevin Arnold’s garage band in a memorable episode of "The Wonder Years." It didn’t last very long, however. In fact, approximately five seconds into their first live performance (an ambitious gig at Amy Herman’s birthday party), the show was unceremoniously broken up by two frumpy cops due to complaints of noise from the neighbors. Despite apparent rumors of a reunion, The Electric Shoes never saw the stage again.

Arnold’s shortly lived music career is not so much a discouraging cautionary tale as it is a lighthearted parable. The moral? It’s not easy being young and following your dreams. Far too often, reality seems to inevitably swoop in and derail even the most steadfast ambitions of the young and hopeful. Sadly, such was the case for The Electric Shoes.

But it could be a different story for Bananacondas, a Lansing-based rock quartet who already find themselves two steps ahead of the game. Not only are they a real-life band, but with two live performances now under their belt, these Michigan natives have already outlasted the legendary Electric Shoes by a considerable margin.

Kidding aside, if Bananacondas’ debut "Mexico/Eastern Markets" EP is any indication, this young indie-rock startup have a promising career ahead. Featuring a rare combination of memorable hooks and lo-fi charm, these early tunes effortlessly hit all the right marks. While eliciting fond reminders of vintage rock staples like The Cure, Pixies, and The Beach Boys, these disparate influences metabolize into something far greater than a merely derivative sum of their parts. The resulting sound is surprisingly fresh and yet strangely familiar and inviting, just begging for a bigger audience to somehow stumble onto this buried time-capsule of ear-candy wonder. Just get “Eastern Markets” on a good independent-film soundtrack and watch these guys turn into the next Shins.

Whether Bananacondas remain in obscurity or develop a widespread cult following, these four college kids personify the rock 'n' roll dream. And if The Electric Shoes proved anything in their brief and fictional tenure, the essence of that dream lives well beyond the music. “What we felt in those years, the hope, the joy, the possibilities, the sense that anything might happen, no matter who we were, it will always be a part of us,” Arnold narrated at the end of that Wonder Years episode. “Rock 'n' roll, man. Rock 'n' roll.”