Big thanks to Chromatic PR who got us advance access to Bad Books new record III! The record represents the band's first full-album in seven years and will drop on June 14, 2019 digitally and June 21, 2019 physically. The band will embark on a headlining tour June 19, 2019 and those dates can be found below!
Advance Review - Bad Books - III (June 14, 2019)
After 7 long years, Bad Books is releasing their newest LP, ///. It’s very apparent that this album is a special one for both the listener as well as the artists. The collaborative band has had a drawn out journey to produce this album with a few breaks and projects along the way, but it all molded the LP to the masterpiece it has become. The project is a new approach for the band, and experiments with a gentler vibe and sonic sounds. The tracks string together to take listeners on a journey through the band’s past 7 years in a compelling fashion.
"Wheel Well" sets the scene for the LP with a peaceful and simple melody. It spotlights the band’s stunning harmonies and a buildup of various instruments. The sprinkle of sonic embellishments give the tune a fullness that will float you up to space where the rest of the tracks reside. "UFO" opens up with very fitting UFO-like sounds. Then comes in Manchester Orchestra lead singer Andy Hull’s signature vocals which take the spotlight in this tune. The track strikes deep emotion and the background reverberations complement the steady and robust guitar that holds the song together.
"Myths Made Plain" opens with an organic acapella-like loop in which the rest of the components follow. This tune slowly builds up with each additional voice and instrument, which seems to be a theme throughout this project. These sonic embellishments are really pulling together each song and adds something to spice up their style. "Lake House" is the most intimate and somber of the tracks, with its slow tempo and interspersed piano. The sonic accents ripple from ear to ear to sharpen the tune’s attitude, which it does a perfect job of. This one pierces into the soul and is very reminiscent of Manchester Orchestra’s classic style, but with a contemporary twist.
"I Love You, I’m Sorry, Please Help Me, Thank You" immediately sets a mood of both surrender and relief. Songwriter Kevin Devine’s lyrics reveal his initial emotions as he journeyed into fatherhood in the past few years, including the quarreling emotions he felt of joy and terror. It’s a tender but steady and hopeful tune that confesses the reality of being human. "Neighbourhood" is a tune with stellar songwriting and an intriguing story. This one is simple with lingering vocals. The track reveals how the band really took their time with this LP and didn’t sacrifice quality for urgency.
"I Wrote It Down For You" was next and to be honest, this one didn’t strike my fancy initially, but the clean melody brought forth a peaceful atmosphere. However, the tune somewhat disguises the melancholy and emotional lyrics, which are extraordinary by the way. "Left Your Body" opens again with Hull’s unique tone that echoes throughout the song. Again, it’s quite obvious that they took their time with this one. The production and flow is mesmerizing and the songwriting pulls the heartstrings.
"Supposed To Be’s" waltzing melody is a perfect way to begin to wrap up the project. It stays with the LP’s theme of a tender approach filled with honesty and confession. The LP comes to a close with the 8-minute long "Army". This song takes the listener on a journey through tides of audacious emotion. Although I don’t know the story behind this song, the lyrics are profound, striking and genuine. Its story is quite intriguing and is an interesting way to end the project. All in all, it encompasses the theme of the album once again with the emotions it evokes.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The LP seems to be a representation of the band’s past few years as they enter a new era in their life, filled with somber melodies and peaceful realizations. Each track elicited a unique aura, which really made this project special. But if nothing else, the production and quality will leave your ears wanting more. Let’s hope the band’s next hiatus won’t be as long.
Rating - 4/5
Bad Books Tour Dates:
6/19 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
6/20 - Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew's Hall
6/21 - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
6/22 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
6/23 - College Park, MD @ Milkboy
6/25 - Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
6/26 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
6/27 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
6/28 - Jersey City, NJ @ White Eagle Hall
8/13 - Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
8/14 - Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall
8/16 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
8/17 - Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
8/19 - San Diego, CA @ The Irenic
8/20 - Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
8/22 - Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
8/23 - Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn