“Fly With You”
The Last Bandoleros
Written by Jerry Fuentes, Diego Navaira, Emilio Navaira, and Derek James
The Last Bandoleros’ debut single, “Where Do You Go?” was one of 2016’s most charming, a spirited blend of Tex-Mex and pop-country styles that was buoyed by tight vocal harmonies. The group drew favorable comparisons to acts ranging from the Everly Brothers and Beatles to The Mavericks, and they made such a strong impression that no less than Sting invited them to be the opener on his most recent tour.
On one hand, their diverse set of influences cast Last Bandoleros as genre dilettantes, capably performing in a variety of styles without settling on one of their own; on the other, their far-flung dalliances made the group one of the most exciting new acts to have even a tangential relationship to country music.
Alas, the group’s new single, “Fly With You,” largely severs their country and Tex-Mex ties. The band has stated that the single’s massive guitar riff was inspired by the Foo Fighters, and alternative-rock hits like “I’ll Stick Around” and especially “Learn to Fly” are obvious referents here. But the economy of the song’s lyrics, which are built upon a familiar conceit, and the group’s extraordinary gift for harmony arrangements give the single broad appeal.
“Fly With You” is a simply flawless example of power-pop: The melody in the chorus is explosive, giving weight to its exuberant, “Get me higher/I wanna fly with you,” refrain, and the repetition of the line, “But that don’t get me high,” throughout the verses creates hooks-upon-hooks-upon-hooks. The Last Bandoleros, for their part, turn in exuberant performances that sell the single with real aplomb. In terms of its style, “Fly With You” stands up to the best of Matthew Sweet, Hanson, Veruca Salt, and Fountains of Wayne.
Which is to say that it’s a killer power-pop single, but it has nothing meaningful to do with country music.
But neither does three-fourths of what’s being played on country radio in 2017. Unlike the emetic lite-R&B offerings of the interchangeable post-Bros, “Fly With You” is at least an example of expert craftsmanship. Chris Lane and Chase Bryant and Walker Hayes don’t get me high, but The Last Bandoleros do.