The Pocket Bandit: a Powerful and Hypnotic Debut Single

There’s an unexpected and entirely wonderful perk to starting a music magazine that I truly wasn’t expecting. Bands send me their upcoming releases early. I know, I know. I should have anticipated that, right? But I went into this fully expecting to review releases after they’ve already hit the proverbial shelves. So getting them early has consistently been a lovely, humbling treat. And today’s delicacy is Pocket Bandits‘ upcoming debut single, The Pocket Bandit, which comes out Friday, April 5th.

I seem to keep using the word virtuosity when describing this up-and-coming Ithaca power trio, and I’d be remiss not to say it again here. Pocket Bandits produce a colorful sonic tapestry with their fluid blends of jazz, funk, prog, and a certain late 60’s/ early 70’s vintage of power rock. And The Pocket Bandit serves as a heart-thumping, almost hypnotic proof of concept for that fusion-fueled ratio.

The Pocket Bandit is heavy in a powerful way, dark and entrancing

Pocket Bandits are dialed a bit more toward the prog rock end of the spectrum on this self-titled single. Samuel B. Lupowitz kicks things off for us with a simple mood-setting keys riff that bursts into a high-energy aural boom of keys, Joe Massa’s guitar, and Simon Bjarning’s explosive percussion. And when the dust settles, Pocket Bandits land in a tight progressive jam that capitalizes quite well on that power rock energy they so nonchalantly capture.

The Pocket Bandit is heavy in a powerful way, dark and entrancing. If you find yourself pestered by a dragon, this song would serve you well when putting together your monster-slaying playlist. It evokes a certain thesis of risky, troubled adventure that defies the odds of your chosen path.

Of course, fighting a dragon traditionally involves scaling some narrow, crumbly mountain pass, which Massa guides us along safely with a brilliant guitar solo. And if you’re a lover of that gorgeous Les Paul sound, you’re going to instantly fall in love with the guitar riffery here.

Bjarning’s drumming on this track is stunning from start to finish, with Peart-adjacent fills and plenty of creative twists and turns. And as always, Sam Lupowitz delivers his signature soundscapes through his keys, with an expertly-crafted flourish of Hammond organ that staves off the brunt of our scaly foe’s fiery attacks.

The Pocket Bandit, the debut single from Ithaca power-trio Pocket Bandits, is out April 5th
The Pocket Bandit, the debut single from Ithaca power-trio Pocket Bandits, is out April 5th

Pocket Bandits’ debut single is available everywhere April 5th

The production value on this track earns very high marks as well. The single was tracked and mixed by Lupowitz at Redwood Lane in Ithaca, and mastered by Matt Saccuccimorano over at Scaramanga Productions. There’s definitely an analog sound at play here, though I can’t quite tell if it was recorded analog or if it’s just a really clever digital mastering. It’s not always easy to discern in this modern era of wildly good plugins. But either way, I love it.

The Pocket Bandit will be available everywhere on April 5th 2024. And if you’re a fan of prog rock, this release needs to be firmly planted on your radar. We’ll be looking forward to adding this to our Parlor City Soundtrack playlist on Spotify once it’s out. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to head down to Antique Row in search of a battle-ready broadsword.