In an industry with more unpredictable twists and turns than a capricious snake with chronic indigestion, rock bands promoted to be the next big thing is a kiss of death proclamation that most can never expect to live up to as they stagger and fall under heavy expectations down the first rungs on the ladder to stardom.
Fortunately for Bad Touch, the high expectations for their fourth album, which has seemingly been long in gestation, has been well worth the wait and recorded at the famed Rockfield Studios for a prestigious new label should establish them on rock-hard ground from which to upscale their lofty ambitions.
Most rock-oriented albums tend to display the musical influences which brought a band together in the first place. Yet, Bad Touch not completely escaping the usual clutch of cliches neither fall into the chasm of second rate tributes as the calibre of songwriting, variety of composition and gutsy delivery forge an identity of their own.
Fronted up by a singer who looks like he has unexpectedly strutted and tripped out of a painting not dissimilar to Frans Hals’ The Laughing Cavalier, Stevie Westwood has not only cultivated a charismatic visage but can holler, wail and sing with as strong a presence as most seasoned frontmen demanding of attention.
Putting the needle to wax, white vinyl at that, there’s a savvy level of consistency to this album’s output and a definite Southern Rock flavour confidently inveigled throughout.
The twin-guitar attack of Daniel Seekings and Rob Glendinning blends crunchy riffs and swaggering chords on a bedrock of locked-in rhythms, generated by bassist Michael Bailey and drummer George Drewry, as the juggernaut of songs rolls onwards.
The onomatopoeic nature of Strut, with Westwood giving it full wallop, is an all-round band bravado performance and certain to please live; whenever that might be? Keyboard maestro Bob Fridzema lends his charmful fingers especially on Let Go to cultured effect with his cameo appearance.
The whiff of Southern rock is especially pungent on Too Much Of A Good Thing and the titular Kiss The Sky, where an early career Black Crowes fetish is more than satisfied with a full-blooded assault and leavened somewhat on Sun And The Moon.
Putting aside the incongruous Kiki Dee Band cover of I Got The Music In Me, which appears here as an unnecessary album filler, with a Midas touch production by Nick Brine raising the all-round game the stars have pretty much aligned on this confident and mature recording.
When you’re in a Noise Off Ready When I Come Home mood from a day’s grind, Kiss The Sky will certainly be near the top of the pile of choices to satisfyingly blast away the dark clouds of the day.
Pre-order Kiss The Sky now via https://badtouchkissthesky.com/
Bad Touch – Kiss The Sky – (Marshall)
Words: Paul Davies