“Every song’s about you”, Banoffee sings with a stuttering repetition, before a clear and bright call to arms breaks through the glitchy abstraction. “This is for me”. Full-chested, proud, reborn. This one line, on “This Is For Me”, is a powerful summation of what Look At Us Now Dad means to her.
For this is an album of survival. Inspired by her own past, and that of her family (especially her father), Banoffee weaves a frank story of forging a new identity amongst pain. Its title alone builds a picture of storm clouds clearing and brighter futures ahead. And while many of the songs are autobiographical, each one is created to feel universal. What is cathartic for one person is much needed reassurance to another.
The SOPHIE and Yves Rothman produced “Count On Me” is a classic example of the adage “a pain shared is a pain halved”. Though Banoffee’s trials are hers, the cathartic call of “Make a cocktail from the tears you cry/raise a glass and drink” is something everyone has experienced at one point or another. Finding understanding in others who have faced the same trials as you. From a crap day at work or overwhelming grief, it’s about the relationships we forge that make us stronger knowing we’re not alone.
It’s this thread that really propels Look At Us Now Dad, building that realisation that we’re never alone in our struggles. That’s why, for an album created from adversity, there’s always an optimism at play here. A celebration and a middle finger as Banoffee reclaims her strength across tracks driven by wonky pop sensibilities and a drop of infectious playfulness.
Whether binning off shitty friends, as in the electric “Tennis Fan” which features a brilliant guest turn from Empress Of, or charting just how far she’s come (the emotional closing track “Look At Us Now Dad”), it rarely feels like this bubbly approach is a mask. Instead it’s an expression of self-assurance. That, through all the struggle, there’s always a bright sky somewhere beyond the storms.