The Bad Flowers – Viscious Lullabies – EP Review

TBF Cover 1I still remember the first time I heard The Bad Flowers. It was late last summer, I was at a gig where a promoter had bought together some of the area’s best bands under the banner of ‘Ones To Watch’. The first few bands rolled by, I remember nothing special apart from a half-cocked Paramore Tribute and a diluted clone of Cold Play. It sounded more like a Wedding Band audition than the night of rock I was promised. Alas on to the stage climbed The Bad Flowers, a three-piece hailing from the Midlands. They looked tight-knit, they had an energy that made me want to keep watching and this was just sound check.

The front man Tom Leighton clasped the mic with the can lights streaming through his grizzly mane of hair, he looked excited and in the moment, far removed from the quartet of pub bands on before. The first song played, instantly I was hit with a wave of energy, they band on stage were using every inch of space they had. The bassist Dale Tonks pounced across the woodwork, stealing looks at the man on vocals. The charisma and sheer showmanship was unseen on the stage that night. The duo was complimented by Karl Selickis who was bouncing up and down on his little drum stool, if he moved anymore he would probably end up toppling into the crowd! They were good, no they were damn near perfect! They had the energy of a teenage drop out garage punk band with the song writing and structure of a matured folk singer. The material was fresh, upbeat and everything you would expect from 3 guys who loved what they do.

DSC_3378The front man Tom Leighton clasped the mic with the can lights streaming through his grizzly mane of hair, he looked excited and in the moment, far removed from the quartet of pub bands on before. The first song played, instantly I was hit with a wave of energy, they band on stage were using every inch of space they had. The bassist Dale Tonks pounced across the woodwork, stealing looks at the man on vocals. The charisma and sheer showmanship was unseen on the stage that night. The duo was complimented by Karl Selickis who was bouncing up and down on his little drum stool, if he moved anymore he would probably end up toppling into the crowd! They were good, no they were damn near perfect! They had the energy of a teenage drop out garage punk band with the songwriting and structure of a matured folk singer. The material was fresh, upbeat and everything you would expect from 3 guys who loved what they do.

That was last summer, I saw them snowball since the night of the gig, they were signed to Gigster Promotions UK Ltd, a huge jump for any young band. Imagine my glee when I get a message from the band asking if I would like to review the EP? I leapt at the chance; I couldn’t wait to see how they had developed as musicians over the last 8 months. Would they lose sight of their passion after being signed? Would they lose their energy and charisma on record? Would be the same band that I saw that fateful night?

Vicious Lullabies is The Bad Flower’s Debut EP set to launch on the 28th of March at their launch gig at The Institute in Birmingham.

The first track on the EP is Dead On My Feet. Straight away, we are met with the staple of this band, clever lyrics, uplifting dancy riffs and distinctive vocals courtesy of Leighton. The harmonies of the backing vocals are matched beautifully with Tom’s coarse yet controlled voice, his ability as a singer to push the distinctive rock & roll aesthetic without it sounding hoarse and rusty is something to be envied. The mix of drums, solos and bass guitar is precisely orchestrated, we don’t hear any of the heavily synthesized commercial shit that gets spread over new bands in order to sound more established. The track is honest, gritty and every inch as exciting as their live performance.

The vocals are mature and have a real powerhouse behind them; we get the impression that his flair as an artist is more precision than pot luck. Straight of the bat the first song sets up the EP nicely, we get a soft American vibe from it, which is reflected in the Sin City inspired artwork on the EP Cover. The bands have matured in their craft but they retain every inch of boyish mischief that made me love them so much. Everything from the vocals which make you picture leather jackets and Harley Davidsons to the exciting bass which are the real balls of the track and all of this is topped of with a Jack Daniels shot of punchy drums which is the froth on top of this biker bar pint. A great start to the EP and it makes me want to hear more.

DSC_3315Ice Queen follows on, the style the band has created runs smoothly into this track. Karl’s drum interludes punctuate the vocals beautifully, punchy little numbers which though short are intensely effective, a chance for you to get your breath back. The drums are the real backbone of this band, I feel as if the distinctive sound they have comes down to the carefully engineered drumming which gives each song a sense of consistency and considered style, an incredibly mature and insightful piece of musicianship, something that a lot of bigger bands envy. The big beefy guitar supplements are ladled heavily into this track, punchy, unfiltered and organic the rhythm section of this 3 piece is a match made in heaven. The track is uplifting, provoking and really sets EP up on a high. It is no wonder why the song is also their single. The style is maintained and we see more of the slow fade out from the first song.

Renegade Lover is the 3rd song on the EP, the track starts out slowly and with an almost country vibe to the songwriting. The distorted guitar segments play beautifully with the simple drum beat creating an outstanding piece of well-constructed songwriting. However the song is 3rd on the EP remember, I feel a little let down at this point. The first 2 songs have pumped up the listener sufficiently and just as the dial reaches 11 we are met by an anticlimactic apex. The song has an air of older material; slightly repetitive lyrics which though are beautifully written and executed still feel empty. The gaps are filled in with great solos from bass and drums. I would have liked to

The song has an air of older material; slightly repetitive lyrics which though are beautifully written and executed still feel empty. The gaps are filled in with great solos from bass and drums. I would have liked to seen this track earlier on in the EP, keep the momentum going! The first two songs were miles above this and it seems a shame for this train to pull into an out-of-town stop when the last stop is Las Vegas. Either this is the band fleshing out the EP or a very clever piece of wizardry made to give the listener a moment to breathe before an almighty finish.

Every Good Girl follows; the train has pulled out and is going faster than ever to the glowing lights in the distance. The tempo gauge climbs higher and higher and we go back to the style of the first 2 songs. More of the clever bass and drum solos that I loved mixed in amongst an uproar of harmonies and classic rock vocals. The high notes are controlled and refined; we never think that Tom is losing his distinctive edge. It really demonstrates the range of his voice; this is a real showcase piece for the group. The song demonstrates why I was so confused with the placement of Renegade Lover, the track is uplifting and a real dance number. The distinctive style and personality of this group shines through in this number. Dale and Karl have done a great job constructing moments of sheer nirvana in the track when the vocals stop and the listener is left in euphoria at a tribute of classic roots, the band is every bit as rock & roll as their heroes. A great track that picks up the momentum to an almighty finish!

TBF-Pic-For-all-Media-Star Of My Show is the last and final song on this EP. As the metaphorical train rolls into the final stop we are met with a moment of peace and quiet reflection. I can picture myself sitting in a warm coffee shop on a midwinter’s day with steam and rain glistening on the nearby windows. Tom’s voice transforms from steel toed army boots to a pair of warm slippers, comfortable, soothing and gentle. The range of this singer is to be envied. The track sounds like a live performance; the feelings of intimacy have really been pushed in the last number. The style is far removed from all the other songs; a totally different side of this band has been unveiled.

Whereas before I was disappointed at their change of pace, now I am delighted by it. The execution of the softer number is downright beautiful…Or so I thought. Half way into the number the electric guitar breathes into life. Out of nowhere the track evolves in front of you, I can almost see Karl and Dale rising from steam onto the stage slowly like in a glam rock performance, except nowhere near as cheesy or vomit inducing. The transition from acoustic to electric is difficult, but holy shit this one hit me like a tidal wave of euphoria. I cannot describe the smile it put on my face when I heard it. The track grows into a stellar mix of acoustic guitar, funky guitar solos and iconic drum beats, the vocals cusp the tip of edgy rock whilst remaining soft and warm. The track really shows the breadth of this band, combining everything they have done in this EP into one song. The last song winds down and I am left speechless, an incredible debut EP which really shows how far they have come in a very short space of time.

Half way into the number the electric guitar breathes into life. Out of nowhere the track evolves in front of you, I can almost see Karl and Dale rising from steam onto the stage slowly like in a glam rock performance, except nowhere near as cheesy or vomit inducing. The transition from acoustic to electric is difficult, but holy shit this one hit me like a tidal wave of euphoria. I cannot describe the smile it put on my face when I heard it. The track grows into a stellar mix of acoustic guitar, funky guitar solos and iconic drum beats, the vocals cusp the tip of edgy rock whilst remaining soft and warm. The track really shows the breadth of this band, combining everything they have done in this EP into one song. The last song winds down and I am left speechless, an incredible debut EP which really shows how far they have come in a very short space of time.

The range of this singer is to be envied. The track sounds like a live performance; the feelings of intimacy have really been pushed in the last number. The style is far removed from all the other songs; a totally different side of this band has been unveiled. Whereas before I was disappointed at their change of pace, now I am delighted by it. The execution of the softer number is downright beautiful…Or so I thought. Half way into the number the electric guitar breathes into life. Out of nowhere the track evolves in front of you, I can almost see Karl and Dale rising from steam onto the stage slowly like in a glam rock performance, except nowhere near as cheesy or vomit inducing.

The transition from acoustic to electric is difficult, but holy shit this one hit me like a tidal wave of euphoria. I cannot describe the smile it put on my face when I heard it. The track grows into a stellar mix of acoustic guitar, funky guitar solos and iconic drum beats, the vocals cusp the tip of edgy rock whilst remaining soft and warm. The track really shows the breadth of this band, combining everything they have done in this EP into one song. The last song winds down and I am left speechless, an incredible debut EP which really shows how far they have come in a very short space of time.

The style is far removed from all the other songs; a totally different side of this band has been unveiled. Whereas before I was disappointed at their change of pace, now I am delighted by it. The execution of the softer number is downright beautiful…Or so I thought. Half way into the number the electric guitar breathes into life. Out of nowhere the track evolves in front of you, I can almost see Karl and Dale rising from steam onto the stage slowly like in a glam rock performance, except nowhere near as cheesy or vomit inducing. The transition from acoustic to electric is difficult, but holy shit this one hit me like a tidal wave of euphoria. I cannot describe the smile it put on my face when I heard it. The track grows into a stellar mix of acoustic guitar, funky guitar solos and iconic drum beats, the vocals cusp the tip of edgy rock whilst remaining soft and warm. The track really shows the breadth of this band, combining everything they have done in this EP into one song. The last song winds down and I am left speechless, an incredible debut EP which really shows how far they have come in a very short space of time.

Half way into the number the electric guitar breathes into life. Out of nowhere the track evolves in front of you, I can almost see Karl and Dale rising from steam onto the stage slowly like in a glam rock performance, except nowhere near as cheesy or vomit inducing. The transition from acoustic to electric is difficult, but holy shit this one hit me like a tidal wave of euphoria. I cannot describe the smile it put on my face when I heard it. The track grows into a stellar mix of acoustic guitar, funky guitar solos and iconic drum beats, the vocals cusp the tip of edgy rock whilst remaining soft and warm. The track really shows the breadth of this band, combining everything they have done in this EP into one song. The last song winds down and I am left speechless, an incredible debut EP which really shows how far they have come in a very short space of time.

Whereas before I was disappointed at their change of pace, now I am delighted by it. The execution of the softer number is downright beautiful…Or so I thought. Half way into the number the electric guitar breathes into life. Out of nowhere the track evolves in front of you, I can almost see Karl and Dale rising from steam onto the stage slowly like in a glam rock performance, except nowhere near as cheesy or vomit inducing. The transition from acoustic to electric is difficult, but holy shit this one hit me like a tidal wave of euphoria. I cannot describe the smile it put on my face when I heard it. The track grows into a stellar mix of acoustic guitar, funky guitar solos and iconic drum beats, the vocals cusp the tip of edgy rock whilst remaining soft and warm. The track really shows the breadth of this band, combining everything they have done in this EP into one song. The last song winds down and I am left speechless, an incredible debut EP which really shows how far they have come in a very short space of time.

Half way into the number the electric guitar breathes into life. Out of nowhere the track evolves in front of you, I can almost see Karl and Dale rising from steam onto the stage slowly like in a glam rock performance, except nowhere near as cheesy or vomit inducing. The transition from acoustic to electric is difficult, but holy shit this one hit me like a tidal wave of euphoria. I cannot describe the smile it put on my face when I heard it. The track grows into a stellar mix of acoustic guitar, funky guitar solos and iconic drum beats, the vocals cusp the tip of edgy rock whilst remaining soft and warm. The track really shows the breadth of this band, combining everything they have done in this EP into one song. The last song winds down and I am left speechless, an incredible debut EP which really shows how far they have come in a very short space of time.

To say that this is a good EP is an understatement; Vicious Lullabies is a beautifully crafted piece which indefinitely shows why this band is where they are today. It shows why they are with Gigster, it shows why they will never struggle to pull another crowd and it shows that how much blood, sweat and tears Tom, Dale and Karl poured into this EP. Their effort and commitment really does shine in this. Though the middle was a little shaky the start and finish are stellar. I have not heard such an outstanding debut EP in a very long time. It is no surprise that the Bad Flowers are touring Europe and then coast to coast in the USA and Canada this year! This band has blown up the young music scene and left a black hole in their wake, they are a whisky on the rocks which hit you with their full force and then leave you with a warm sweet aftertaste which makes you want more. I waited a long time to hear this band and I can honestly say I am blown away. This is not just an incredible EP, it is the warning call before they change their genre.

Make sure you stay up to date with everything they do by following them on Facebook and Twitter and to hear more just visit their Soundcloud.

 

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