Look At Us Now Dad, Banoffee’s debut album, is an uplifting, optimistic journey that celebrates survival in the face of abuse and adversity. Featuring collaborations with SOPHIE, Empress Of, CupcakKe and umru, and co-produced by Banoffee and Yves Rothman, the music is a kinetic hybrid of experimental club sounds and earworm pop. “Each song uses human experience to talk about more complex concepts like addiction, obsession, heartbreak and resurrection,” says Banoffee. “Not to dwell in sadness, but to join hands.”
The album was written in the two years after the artist moved to LA from Melbourne seeking a fresh start after a mental breakdown. Meticulously studying what caused her collapse, Banoffee examined her life in order to reclaim her narrative and grow from victim to survivor. Look At Us Now Dad tells a story of triumph—over abuse, sadness, and loss—and is a testament to the possibilities of rebirth. As Banoffee puts it: “Each track is about a struggle and achievement that anyone could experience, the ones that sometime seem trivial. We’re all survivors for one reason or another.”
Title track “Look At Us Now Dad” is a bittersweet ballad addressed to her father that examines how trauma is passed between generations. In “Permission,” she directly confronts her abusers while singing in an auto-tuned glissando amidst haunting chasms of empty space. “Count On You,” a full-throttle anthem fueled by blasts of jagged synths and written at the peak of the #MeToo movement, is a relentless declaration of solidarity with survivors. “Ripe,” co-produced with SOPHIE, is a pop banger where Banoffee’s shimmering, angelic vocals plunge into a demented underbelly of flouro-synths and twisted club sounds.
Across the album, the production’s textural emphasis on crunchy sounds and smooth transitions serves as a darker, more experimental foil to Banoffee’s narrative-driven lyrics and hook-laden melodies. “It’s an exciting time for pop music,” says Banoffee, who relishes her position at the border between avant-garde art and above-ground sounds. The broadening of the popscape to include more radical and queer artists such as herself is heartening—and playing in Charli XCX’s band on the Taylor Swift tour taught her a lot about how commercial music brings people together. “Pop isn’t lyrically political like in the 60s,” she says, “but now, the existence of these avant artists is advocating for nonconformists.”
- Michelle Lhooq