The debut full-length by Australia-born Banoffee presents a powerful tale of survival. Predominately written following a move from Melbourne to LA, ‘Look At Us Now Dad’ is filled with conversational anecdotes of hard-fought affirmation. The remarkably frank lyrics tie together the comparable frivolity of opener ‘Tennis Fan’, and ‘One Night Stand’ with the sheer intensity of standout ‘Permission’ and the celebratory catharsis of the album’s title track.
The album’s power unfolds through experimental pop of the type championed by mentor and friend Charli XCX and her ever-growing posse. Led by atypical synths, ‘Look At Us Now’ effortlessly plays with melody and structure. The driving guitar in ‘Count On You’ pairs heavy rock with the electronic experimentation of SOPHIE, while the unexpected break in ‘Permission’ unfolds as one of the tensest moments in contemporary pop. The record’s interludes - moments of abundant creativity in their own right - often hark at Imogen Heap on acid.
Released seven years after Banoffee’s debut single, ‘Look At Us Now Dad’ all-but parts with what has come before; the only survivor ‘Ripe’ reworked through a guest appearance by Chicago rapper CupcakKe. Instead, Banoffee rebuilds herself following a recent mental breakdown, the album both a middle finger to those who have beat her down and a mantra for recovery. ‘This Is For Me’ lays this bare. “Every song’s about you,” she repeats with subtle venom before declaring, “this is for me”.
This self-belief and liberal relatability have built Banoffee into a voice for the downtrodden. Interviews are filled with her progressive thoughts on acceptance, a champion and ally for LGBT+ rights, and for gender and racial equality. ‘Look At Us Now Dad’ may not tackle these directly, but in her journey to rediscover her own strength Banoffee has created a remarkable pop opus unquestionably destined to empower the marginalised.