Photo by David Katzinger
It’s hard to unravel exactly what makes Bandits on the Run such a fascinating indie-folk phenomenon, whether it’s something in their immaculate three-part harmonies and 1950s chord progressions or the air of whimsy that wafts through whatever performance space they find themselves in. But if this is the first you’re hearing of the theatrical Brooklyn-based trio, the new video for “Cowboy on the Run,” from their recent Bandits Live at the Power Station EP, is a strong place to start.
Filmed during the sessions that produced that record–in Studio A at Hell’s Kitchen’s famous Power Station studio–the video circles the three players and introduces their stage personae: Regina Strayhorn as Clarissa, Sydney Shepherd as Bonanza Jellyfish, and Adrian Enscoe as Roy Dodger.
It’s more subdued than their kinetic, 360-degree visual for “The Ballad of Bonnie Jean,” but it serves the music just as well. In her spoken word intro, Clarissa invites you to forget the hardwood walls around the band and picture the story of “Cowboy on the Run” playing out on the dusty New Mexico plains.
What unfolds is a dreamy western pastiche, complete with musical quotes from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’s iconic score and the doo-wop vocals of “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” It’s a sterling example of the band’s billowing live arrangements, complete with suitcase kick drum, not to mention their trademark wit and roguish charm.
Maybe it’s not as organic as catching Bandits on the Run busking on a subway platform, but if you listen very closely, you can still hear the rumble of the train. Check out the video below via the band’s YouTube: