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Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution‘s (BOTAR’s) only EP, A Call to Arms, is singer/songwriter Tomas Kalnoky’s proof that acoustic music does not have to be soft and slow. In the album, Kalnoky and his many bandmates melt Eastern European folk, ska, and classical music into a musical experience not quite like anything else.
The album begins with a strong introduction that quickly evaporates into a parade of strumming guitars. A quick segue, and we’re into the first full track: Here’s To Life. While the BOTAR version of the song might not be as aggressive as the Streetlight Manifesto one, it’s still just as edgy and equally as (if not more so) effective. The duet between Kalnoky and the female singer during the piano break is both warming and haunting at the same time.
Track two, Dear Sergio, is just as potent as the first. BOTAR takes the Catch 22 rendition of the song and does more than just cover it; they completely change the style of the song, even adding another verse.
Finally, things lighten up a little bit with It’s a Wonderful Life, which opens with a beautiful horn/strings duet. This extended track shows the versatility of the band’s ability to play fantastic music.
Almost as quick as it began, the EP ends with its strongest track, “They Provide the Paint for the Picture Perfect Masterpiece that You Will Paint on the Inside of Your Eyelids” (Try saying that in one breath.) It begins with a short riff in honor of Bad Religion’s ‘American Jesus,’ and softly builds to reach the climax of the entire album. Both lyrically and musically, this song surpasses all the others.
Having been more than satisfied with A Call to Arms, I eagerly await BOTAR’s next release, rumored to be 30 tracks long.