Album Review: The Badje – Albatross And Other Delicacies.

Brighton based Alternative outfit The Badje don’t do conformity. Sounding like a rock n roll band raised in the late 50’s who don’t remember the 60’s the music is psychedelic, summery and most of all fun. Latest release Albatross And Other delicacies is a hand picked collection of tracks from their brief back catalogue. Far from being a retrospective glance over a bands progression to this point it is a cohesive showcasing of the immeasurable talent of the group, from stripped back acoustic tracks to masterfully layered harmonies situated in grandiose psychedelia.

Album opener Child of nicotine is one of the more straightforward tracks on the record and at 2:47 long it is a concise introduction to the many strengths of the group. The somewhat lo-fi production is never to the detriment of the musicianship and the slightly off kilter chorus melody is catchy enough without being formulaic or expected. The record progresses in atypical fashion, Playground boasts sitting somewhere between early Bowie and late Zepplin and Travel Suite is smart in its self awareness of its own weirdness. Musically a real feeling of fun proves a constant, easy going but more than able to stand up to closer inspection in terms of musicality. Tonally coherent and with consistently interesting composition, no sections ever drift to dreaded psychedelic obscurity, nor do the comparatively slower tracks feel less integral to the record. The rhythm section of the band deserve particular attention, providing a rock solid foundation for the more avante-garde instrumentation and haunting vocals all the while lending a solid groove and a sense of purpose to the proceedings.

The strong point of the record is in it’s variety. Each track carries a strong vibe of it’s own whilst the aforementioned rhythm section and consistent production stop them from feeling out of place. The best example of this being the largely acoustic track Letter of tricks. We all know the score, place the acoustic song as the penultimate on the album to give a real feeling of cadence before one last finale track, but such is not the case. The varied musicianship throughout the record means that an acoustic track doesn’t simply sound like a necessity it feels like a natural exploration of musical avenues and timbres. The stripped back nature of the track is also a great chance for the vocal melodies to shine whilst never losing the haunting production qualities applied to them. An impressive showing from a thoroughly impressive band.

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