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Frankly, it’s a bit difficult to find ba. using search engines, but don’t let that put you off. Benas Aleksandravičius, the singer, songwriter and driving force behind this band (it’s called after his initials, if you haven’t guessed it already) is one of those jaw-dropping success stories – when he broke through in 2013, a couple of months later he was getting hundreds of thousands YouTube views – at tender age of 16, without record label backing or conventional promotion, this indie rock singer managed to capture hearts and minds of young internet generation. Having dropped out of school to concentrate on music (still a pretty unusual move in Lithuania), Benas’ atmospheric tunes with nods to post-punk quickly drew comparisons to the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club – the video for Sugebėt pasikeist (To Be Able To Change), released in 2014, has now been viewed more than a million times on YouTube, no mean feat for an alternative artist from a country with just three million inhabitants. However, anthemic indie of debut EP Raktas (The Key, 2013) and soon gave way to somewhat harsher, grunge-y guitar sound of full-length album Rasti/Pasiklysti (To Find/To Get Lost, 2015). Singing exclusively in Lithuanian, Benas and his cohorts soon became talk of the town as one of the most exciting live bands around. On the stage, he is truly a man possessed by his art – seeing Benas perform is an intense experience, with stream-of-consciousness lyrics (which, one may speculate, are difficult to decipher for even the most loyal fans) adding to his weird charisma. In 2015, ba. won the audience vote at Tallinn Music Week showcase festival (Estonia). Saulėsužtemimas (Solar Eclipse) EP followed in 2016, with another EP and vinyl release promised for early 2017. This is rough, honest, no-holds-barred music that resonates with alternative audience in an impressive way. Having played the biggest Lithuanian festivals in 2016, ba. finished the year with their biggest solo concert to date, selling out Loftas (Vilnius’ most important alternative music venue) and performing in front of 1000 ecstatic fans. Judging by their reaction, it’s more than likely that bigger things are on the cards for this band. (Ramūnas Zilnys/Europavox.com)
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