DECEMBER ALBUM OF THE MONTH
If you want to make a statement and support new bands with this year’s Christmas shopping, then you may well have just stumbled across a perfect stocking filler.
Bad Touch return on 2 December with a new album that is both brave and adventurous – and this new 12-song collection underlines why festivals such as Wildfire and The Ramblin’ Man Rising Stage play such an important role in giving new British rock acts a break. With ‘Truth Be Told’ we see a young band that is growing into something serious and exciting. Some unmistakable classic references to Paul Rodgers, Led Zep and the Stones – yet this album sounds distinctly young, fresh and relevant.
On a first listen, I wasn’t actually sure whether I fully liked the new album. I had become such an admirer of the directness and warmth of the ‘Half Way Home’ album that I had kind of pigeonholed the sound I expected to hear from the band before I even listened to the new album. And rather than more of the same, with ‘Truth Be Told’ we have an album with much greater variety of tone, mood and style. But it’s better for it. This record captures a band that is evolving, growing, trying new things and pushing new boundaries – with both confidence and a dash of fun.
Some weeks ago, I met Stevie in South London to record an interview for an hour’s radio preview of the album, featuring the first radio plays of a couple of album tracks as well as some interesting demos that didn’t quite make the album. We discussed one of the new album tracks ‘Outlaw’ and Stevie mentioned having a few reservations over taking on the Southern outlaw theme for a song. But when I aired the hour special a week later, this was the song that packed the ‘wow’ factor with listeners and prompted calls to immediately play it again. Outlaw is a song of real power where all the elements of the band work perfectly and quite naturally together – and it stands as one of my choice songs on the new album.
‘Take Your Time’ offers a complete contrast and it will be warmly welcomed by fans of ‘Something Someone’ – a Bad Touch song that gained a life of it’s own on my rock show in the last year and has became a firm listener favourite since. Whilst by nature an up-tempo rock band, these quieter songs show a more vulnerable side to the band that, ironically, are powerful and make a real connection.
99 per cent captures brilliantly the fun side of the band and this is, by some distance, the best radio single the band has penned to date. Writing and having an eye for a great radio single is an art form and the band hits bulls eye with 99 per cent. Whilst some in the industry bemoan the apparent difficulty in getting airplay for new rock bands, my argument is that radio always wants good radio songs and this is exactly the kind of tune that could see singles from new blues rock bands back on mainstream radio.
‘Truth Be Told’ is a definite evolution from the previous album. It’s more sophisticated, more varied and more refined. Yet there is also an unmistakeable sense of the band leaving the relative safe harbour of ‘Half Way Home’ and setting out on a journey – experimenting, evolving, growing. This leaves you to speculate with some excitement what might be next. The best rock bands have always evolved and there is evidence here that, step-by-step, Bad Touch are evolving into one of tomorrow’s great performance rock bands.
This album is released at the end of a year that, for many, has been a year of bizarre world events, uncertainty and perhaps even a year to forget. At times of uncertainty, music has an important part to play for many people – and the arrival of ‘Truth Be Told’ gives us reason to be excited about what Bad Touch represent: they are part of a new generation of rock bands emerging across the UK, too many in number – and too good in what they are creating – to be ignored. ‘Truth Be Told’ as an album represents an evolution. For the band, it represents the transition of Bad Touch from worthy debutants to standard bearers for the new generation of rock bands that are in the ascendancy in Britain today.
Bad Touch ‘Truth Be Told’ is released on 2 December 2016
Listen again to my feature interview with Stevie on the new album and touring plans: