Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bad Vibrations EP - Bad Vibrations

Bad Vibrations EP

Bad Vibrations
Brotherhood Cassettes.

SCQ Rating: 71%

I’m not so into punk. The whole objective at its root, be it rebellion or straight-out anarchy, has always seemed a more recreational than practical pursuit, possibly because most punk bands I’ve followed end up chasing their purist tails or, you know, become Blink 182. Like any genre that equates authenticity with not straying from the proven path, punk’s in-club, “punker-than-thou” rule seems quite at odds with its fight against conformity.

What I am into is Bad Vibrations. Here’s a punk-oriented band dissatisfied by the notion of treading the same lukewarm waters and unafraid to consciously show vulnerability in their relentless riffs. Here’s a trio of friends who’ve only been practicing together since last summer, who’ve taught their drummer how to play from scratch. Of course, given that this three-piece is fronted by KC Spidle, main dude of Husband & Knife and ex-drummer of Dog Day, it’s expected that this self-titled EP should dive deeper than surface-level defiance. ‘Think About Life’, in its imperative title alone, shifts our expectations with Spidle’s introverted lyrics underscoring high strings strummed like a soft siren. Is it a careful warning of things to come or narratives to unfold? Hard to say, as ‘Think About Life’ is heartily abandoned with the DIY gusto that motivates much of this EP. ‘New Danger’ supplies Bad Vibrations’ true intentions with serrated guitars and steady-as-a-freight percussion while ‘We’re Dead’ is anchored to a guitar-assault so massive, it feels epic despite its slight running-time. Even though this debut is nine tracks measuring twenty minutes, its final third is aggravated by two interruptions – a muffled, probably high-as-hell phone message, and an equally stifled conversation which clocks more time on ‘Foreigner’ than the song itself – which offer no replay value.

However rushed or hammered out these tracks might feel, the band’s impetuousness proves difficult to resist. And when these exercises in compressed energy are matched by catchy choruses, as on ‘Care About Yourself’ and ‘Good/Bad’, Bad Vibrations (rounded out by Evan Cardwell and Meg Yoshida) are a force to be reckoned with – within punk’s inner-circle and beyond it.

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