Tank and The Bangas Make New Fans With Friend Goals

To quarantine means to isolate for the safety of others. What it does not entail, is the ineptitude to collaborate, as shown by Tank and The Bangas with their newest EP, Friend Goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a tiring topic to many. We’re told to stay home, stay sanitized, and try to stay sane. Most of us have experienced the luxury of returning to work under semi-similar conditions. Musicians can’t exactly say the same. Barring television specials, touring will momentarily be a thing of the past. Though certain musicians went MIA as a result, Tank and The Bangas continue to prosper both creatively and socially.

“Quarantine could be really lame if you just look at it that way” says vocalist/frontwoman Tarriona “Tank” Ball. The band shows no intentions of slowing down to match the circumstances. With that very spirit, they’ve safely come together with various friends to show the power of synergy.

“Fluff” acts as the EP opener, featuring DUCKWRTH and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. Tank, partnered with her guests, reflects on her Coachella experience in 2018. The line “You got the clout and a whip/but ironically you can’t get a grip” captures the almost fantastical nature of those attending the annual music festival, making for an intriguing listen.

“Self Care,” ironically written before the pandemic, features Jaime Woods, Orleans Big, and Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph. While appropriate for the time, it is perhaps even a little too appropriate. There’s a certain feeling of discomfort to be had while hearing this as the truth told about isolation still stings. Taking care of one’s self is crucial, but for the time being this song’s content is an obnoxious reminder of a grim situation. Though I know this’ll age better, it’s a song with ideas released too soon.

The following track and side closer, “TSA,” features PJ Morton and soars beyond expectations. A four minute breakdown of humdrum airport security sounds odd, but in truth it’s much more exciting than I could have foreseen. It is however a tad bit satirical, as it predominantly lists out confiscated African American specific beauty products. It all goes to show the absurdity of certain systems, and why reforms are in order.

Energetic in its ways is “Mr. Insta.” Don’t let that descriptor suggest a simple substance. This track dives well below the surface of social media’s numerous issues in engaging and playful ways. Guest lyricist, CHIKA, aids Tank in her process. One contributing line, “Would I trade the clout for the peace of mind,” is evidence enough that our online addictions seamlessly depreciate our mental health.

“To Be Real” combines modern production with the essence of yesteryear rap. Hasizzle, Keedy Black, and Big Choo each play a vital part in this successful imitation of old-school rap. It’s a compelling storytelling adventure of a piece that really should be shown to rap skeptics.

The EP’s closing track is “Friend Goals.” It’s been said that musical gems are birthed from a solid partnership. Even better yet, we have here a song about partnership. To be more specific, friendship: an essential concept that ensures a long and joyous lifetime, something Pell and Tank don’t want us to forget.

There were of course some complications due to the time when these songs were recorded. Six tracks recorded across four studios results in a bit of sound quality variance. None of the recordings are nearing mediocre quality, but it’s clear which were recorded on better equipment. Overall, it’s fantastic, yet still a discrepancy worth mentioning.

No hype sticker to indicate the weight, color, or transparency. With that being said, it’s then my job to inform you. This pink, translucent, slab of eye candy comes in at 146 grams, a rather healthy weight. It’s become common knowledge that colored vinyl has a tendency to have more surface noise, but that’s mostly for older pressings. This is pleasantly quiet, shockingly so. The packaging is nothing special; a jacket displays the cover art and the included inner sleeve holds credits and lyrics. Gently re-house the record into a poly-lined sleeve and you’re golden.

Social distancing is undoubtedly incorrect. Friend Goals are much too important for our well-being. Keeping that in mind, opt for physical distancing, remembering that friendship must never be forgotten.

(Nathan Zeller is a music-adoring Beatles fanatic from the chilling lands of Western Canada. Born with a piano teacher for a father, and a teacher at a music-oriented elementary school for a mother, you could say he didn’t choose this life, rather it chose him. Currently Nathan waits patiently as he gives his amplifier a full hour to warm up.)

lilrecords's picture

liked the entire EP except for self care, just like you. it was the wrong choice for a single in my opinion. if you get the chance, see them live, thats where they shine :)

Nathan Zeller's picture

I've heard that their live shows are among the best experiences to be had. Too bad they've never come to my area, and until COVID dies down never will.

TSA or Friend Goals should have been the single in my opinion.

Ethan's picture

...but it’s clear which were recorded on better equipment.

Though discrepancies were definitely noticeable between parts of the tracks, I feel that they made up for it in message. You'd be hard pressed to find someone willing to call them surface level.

Overall, I appreciate that they're making an effort to still get some new music out to fans even with extenuating circumstance.