Released: November 2 2016
Label: Bad Touch Records
Stevie Westwood, – Lead Vocals ,
Rob Glendinning, – Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar,
Daniel Seekings, – Guitar, Backing Vocals,
Michael Bailey,- Bass ,
George Drewry, – Drums, Keyboards, Backing Vocals,
Track Listing – Truth Be Told
One More Night
Waiting For This
Under My Skin
Take Your Time
Let The Sun Shine
My Mother Told Me
Made To Break
Five piece Norfolk rockers Bad Touch are about to launch their second studio album on 2nd December 2016. Ahead of its release, I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on the upcoming album.
The opening track One More Night doesn’t do justice to the potential that these guys show through the album but is a pretty accurate blueprint of the type of sounds, such as The Black Crowes or Skynard, that have influenced the band. A standard 16 bar blues riff opens up to a brief three chord bridge building up to the hook, “…will you remember me in the summertime” delivered over the opening guitar riff while the rest of the band takes a brief pause. Credit to the band for the attempted structure though I believe, hearing what I have through the rest of the album, that the band is capable of writing better hooks and bringing the melodies together more seamlessly than this track would have you believe.
99% is one of the bands signature tracks and given its production by ex-Rolling Stones co-producer Chris Kimey, one expects great things from this track. Truth be told, for me this track is far from the best that Bad Touch have put on the album and yes, I did just throw in the album name to make a point! The verse, while simple and uncluttered by excessive instrumentation is not convincing largely because Stevie’s vocals don’t provide enough body to the sound for the song to capture the listener’s attention. The chorus is catchy with its multiple vocal harmonies and gives way to a guitar solo which, if you heard the rest of the album, leaves one questioning the melody and structure used. A catchy chorus is all I can really say about this song which is a shame given Chris’ involvement in its production.
Waiting For This and Under My Skin is where the band really starts to show its playing and song writing potential. Reminiscent of a bluesy version of something you may hear on Extreme’s 2008 release, Saudades du Rock, the song structures on these tracks are tighter, with choruses that engage the listener and guitar solos that let Rob show off his virtuosity. Overall, I’d say these two tracks show a more mature song writing style which is where Bad Touch’s potential really comes through.
Heartbreaker, Soulshaker carries on in the same vein as the preceding two songs with a wah based guitar riff backing the verse. That said, this is once again an example of where the band hasn’t quite covered themselves in glory with a forced sounding instrumental section after the second chorus seeming anachronistic; almost as if its exclusion would be a departure from the format of the previous tracks. To add to this, the harmonised vocals in the chorus simply don’t come together well, bordering dangerously close to being a quarter note out of sync with the rest of the song.
Thankfully from this point on in the album most of the tracks are pretty well put together which makes it worth persevering through the anomalies on the first half of the album. Take Your Time, the rock ballad on the album, is a well written and executed track with warm guitar tones and a tight rhythm section held together by Bailey’s bass. The song also boasts a smooth solo where one can feel the emotion that Rob has thrown into the composition.
My Mother Told Me kicks off with a guitar riff resonant of Led Zepplin’s Rock’n’Roll which gives way to a half tempo Southern Rock style verse. Stevie’s vocals on this track, while testing the limits of his vocal range, are on point in the verse and the high octave chorus lines. Later in the track, the Stevie’s vocals and Rob’s guitar enter into a call and response section which builds up naturally into the last chorus of the track.
The acoustic electric interplay of the guitars on Outlaw is another showcase of Bad Touch’s versatility in composition. A track which may remind some listeners of Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive, more so on account of the lyrics, Outlaw is gripping, powerful, full of energetic guitar playing and long bendy solos. By contrast, Made To Break has a more punkish feel to the writing with relatively staccato guitar sections and another call and response session, though this time between Stevie and Bailey’s bass.
The last track on the album, The Mountain, may just be the hidden gem on this album. Starting with an innocent plucking melody on the acoustic, whispered vocals, the jangle of a tambourine, the last line of the verse builds into an energetic bridge, bearing similarities to early Soundgarden songs. The harmonies in the chorus, however, are the icing on the cake in this track, with Stevie and other guy finding some ‘ghost notes’ through the free flowing vocal melody in the third line of the chorus. For those who struggle with listening to an album all the way through, I’d stay the course as The Mountain is definitely worth it.
Overall I’d say that I’m not convinced by the entire album. That’s not to say that there aren’t good tracks on the album, however I did find myself skipping more than a couple of songs on the fourth listen of the album. If I had to sum up this album, I’d say it contains a meaningful showcase of the sound that Bad Touch are going for however there is untapped potential here which manifests itself in the form of the varying quality of the tracks. That said, the good bits on this album are definitely worth a listen and I’m almost certain that the band’s next release will have a more consistent and matured song writing through the entire album.
Review by Karan Dutta