Top 3 EPs of 2015: #1 – Do I Make You Nervous? by Banoffee

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I am irrationally afraid of sophomore slump. It doesn’t exist, except in the sense of superstition, which for me breeds from paranoia. I’m not worried about this for myself, but rather for the burgeoning artists that I see making a distinct mark on the music scene. Unfortunately, success is a game of chance.

Banoffee released her debut EP last year, and I loved it. I loved it so much that it sparked this insatiable love for everything Martha Brown. Every day that she didn’t release new material, my expectations for the hypothetical future release grew higher and higher. The night Do I Make You Nervous? came out was a special one; I holed myself up to minimize any distractions, and I devoured it.

The first single, “With Her,” was an excellent first impression of the then-forthcoming EP, but the picture is incomplete. This track (first on the release) and the final track “Fall Fast” are connected through an image of driving. This is an intimate activity, being confined to such a small space for however long it takes to get where you’re going. Tensions can run high, and Banoffee highlights those of the romantic variety.

“Remember sitting in your car
your hand stretched out behind the driver’s seat?”

Before I can admire how sweet this image is, the lyrics reveal insecurity. “You said we had to hide it… they wouldn’t understand you loving me,” she continues. This dejection sets the tone for the rest of the EP, where all five tracks slowly overcome it. And by “Fall Fast,” there is a resolution. She is no longer in the driver’s seat, on the receiving end of misleading body language; now she’s in charge of the situation.

“You sit in the front seat and I’ll sit next to you

you can drive
I’ll direct”

Do I Make You Nervous? by Banoffee
No longer does her happiness hinge on someone else’s actions. She stopped apologizing, and more importantly stopped feeling guilty about doing so. She found the self-confidence to grow as an artist and doesn’t allow herself to feel the pressure of losing her own authenticity. This role reversal is empowering, because Banoffee proves that it isn’t the power of being in total control that is fulfilling; mutual trust and respect are what last.

As it happens, this driving motif may not have been written consciously. Banoffee has said that she doesn’t necessarily write songs with any preconceived intention of release: “I want to just write music, whether it turns into a single, an album, an EP – that’s for the tracks to decide when they’re fully finished.” (Galore) This unintended yet brilliantly emotive songwriting technique is what sets Banoffee apart in my eyes. The layers of production that make up each track are beyond impressive- it’s downright magical. In “Fall Fast,” one of the main riffs sounds like a sprinkler, and “With Her” features one of the most unexpected Mario tributes ever. The saturation of vocals in “I’m Not Sorry” feels vivid and alive. Shoutout to the extremely subtle, yet game-changing sax riff in “Body Suit.” Not to mention the moment in “Oceans” near the three minute mark that is absolutely awe-inspiring.

Brown has said many times that creating and sharing her art with the world is scary, and I understand the self-doubt. The disparity between how you feel about something you’ve created versus what someone else may think of it is quite daunting. After all, they can’t know what you know about it. They didn’t know it when it was still just a hatchling of an idea, and they didn’t grow with it. But she needn’t fear. Especially given the overwhelming support the Aussie scene has been affording her, Banoffee’s time in the spotlight is only beginning.

Banoffee | buy Do I Make You Nervous? | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | @marthabanoffee

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