Baddies - Build

Pop music that with every listen reveals more of itself.

Baddies were somewhat unfortunate with first album ‘Do The Job’ and its’ inability to propel them into the average music fans’ consciousness. Emerging from the surprisingly diverse Southend, they had a strong and defined image, a charismatic frontman and with singles ‘We Beat Our Chests’ and ‘Battleships’ clearly had the songs to back these characteristics. A re-record of WBOC entitled ‘Wir Schlagen Unsere Brust’ hints at an Art-Brut like ‘big in Germany’ tag but even then, the feeling among those aware of them was that the success they deserved had eluded them. Now they’re back for a second crack with ‘Build’ – two questions must be posed: A) Do they deserve your recognition second time around in this age of ‘buzz buzz buzz (new band)’?; and B) If so, why?

When hearing that they’ve expanded their sound to include synths, the first thought is “bit late jumping on the bandwagon there lads” – a clichéd move adopted by dozens before them in the past few years. You would do well to reign in that cynicism though, for Build largely sets an example to the rest on ‘how this sort of thing should be done’. The opening track ‘Rewire’’s noodly synth intro is bluntly cut by Michael Webster’s barely-acapella uttering of the title before both synths and guitar combine in a way that shows the band had intended for new material to marry the two long before it became the ‘in’ thing to do. It’s almost criminal to reference them these days but it does bring to mind early Kaiser Chiefs – that combination of pop with a grittier, rewarding sound that opens up new noise with every listen.

In fact, that last sentence could sum up ‘Build’ in a nutshell. It’s pop music that with every listen reveals more of itself, that it’s not the throwaway three minute hook led track you may initially have believed. It’s certainly an album that rewards repeated listening – breaking the #1 rule of journalism here and talking from a personal perspective, on the first few listens I didn’t rate ‘Build’ at all. By the 5th I thought it was brilliant. The kind of music fan you are will predetermine how you judge it: if you’re willing to put the time in, ‘Build’ will be one of the superior indie-rock albums you hear this year. The glut of immediate songs such as the aforementioned ‘Rewire’, first single ‘Bronto’ and hook-laden ‘Talk To Me Germany’ should be enough to sate you whilst the treats hidden within ‘The Lightmen’ and in particular closing track ‘Star Surfing’ reveal themselves. It is ‘Star Surfing’ that is the biggest revelation here: a much more relaxed pace, it sees the band experimenting with space, aural textures and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. It’s the track which requires the most patience (compared to what came before it) and which offers the greatest reward. Baddies done good.

Tags: Reviews, Album Reviews

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