October Album of the Month
It’s quite possible that all roads in the Bad Touch story have led to this point. With ‘Bittersweet Satisfaction’ Bad Touch have served up their career-best album: the album that sees them take on the mantle as the UK’s ultimate feel-good rock‘n’roll band. An album of consistently confident and classy songcraft that gives them an Album of the Year contender for classic rockers – yet simultaneously catapults them as one of just a few whose music could and should live comfortably in the music mainstream. ‘Bittersweet Satisfaction’ is Bad Touch’s rite of passage album; they’re back from the lockdown era with an empathically confident and self-assured musical statement – and one that elevates them to the forefront of the Britain’s contemporary rock scene.
The economy is so impressive. 10 songs, with only one track longer than four minutes. Yet every song stands tall on its own and the album is packed with catchy choruses and brief – but memorable – guitar solos. Every track starts and finishes properly without fading in or out and there’s not a filler in sight. In the age of the vinyl revival, this album reminds us of the lost art of a great album. This is Bad Touch’s ‘Reckless’ – 10 songs which could all be singles, a great flow to the track-listing and with every song delivering immediate impact. There is no waste, rather there is class and craft in the economy.
In the spirit of an album that delivers impact without being too long, I’m going to keep this review relatively short and to-the-point.
‘Slip Away’ opens the album with an up-tempo, full-blooded Bad Touch. We’re straight in with no messing about. For ‘This Life’ Stevie’s vocal stays in the higher range. A song with instantly catchy choruses – an uplifting, feel-good vibe. This is music to unite people, music that will create shared memories.
‘Spend My Days’ is another inspiring track, the choruses really working in elevating the new material. The production is also excellent – the recorded balance between the band members is really good. Drums, guitar, bass, vocal – everyone has room to breathe and moments to shine. Bad Touch has always been a tight band on stage and in the studio – and the album production catches this well for a band that truly has always been about the sum of the parts.
The title track keeps the urgency and tempo rolling and this sets up ‘Nothing Wrong With That,’ which is possibly the band’s best radio single to date. The band’s influences are very clear with this song, but it’s the track’s spirit and execution that gives it such class. After the ups and downs of world events in recent years, this is the kind of song we all need on our playlists. Perfect too for audience participation at festivals, the kind of shared spirit that a uniting anthem gives people at a music event as the sun sets after a long day.
‘Taste This’ mixes funk and rock vibes – a song that has a depth, is executed with a confident swagger and includes a filthy guitar solo. The guitar playing throughout the album is excellent. The solos are economical at times but the stand-out moments shine – sometimes less is more. After a few listens, ‘Taste This’ has all the makings of a deep cut favourite from the album.
‘Tonight’ is another song that sparkles, supported by the soulful backing singers who complement Stevie’s voice well. This is music that makes you feel alive – it’s arguably pop music in the best sense of the word. And from the rising rock scene we need more music that can live outside the genre goldfish bowl.
‘Come Back Again’ could well be Bad Touch’s ‘When The World Comes Down’ moment. A song for hope. Everyone will be touched by this one in their own way. A simple song but the best songs often are. Stevie’s vocals are perfectly suited for this kind of song – a track for mainstream radio, if playlists were based purely on merit.
‘See It To Believe It’ we premiered on the rock show ahead of the track’s appearance on Modern Rock Vol 5. Following the tradition of ‘99%’, ‘Good On You’ and ‘Baby Get It On’, this is the latest instalment of classy feel-good blues rock party singles that no one does better than Bad Touch.
After the breathless run of great songs, the album closes with ‘Dizzy For You’- a perfect singalong closer. A bit more freestyle but full of freedom and confidence.
Bad Touch is a band I have followed since early 2016. From the long run of serious and nutty interviews we’ve done over the years, it’s always been clear the band members are grounded, good people. They are serious about being the best band they can be – and their ultimate aim is to entertain. For the last eight years they have always been on the rock show playlist, their track record for serving up a relentless run of catchy radio singles is almost unequalled in their peer group. What we have with ‘Bittersweet Satisfaction’ is an album release that has gone up through the gears. It’s not just a collection of songs with a few belting radio singles – it feels almost like a greatest hits album. ‘Bittersweet Satisfaction’ is Bad Touch’s benchmark album.
For years this band has been in mix among a fine peer group of bands that has been evolving. ‘Bittersweet Satisfaction’ is possibly the moment when Bad Touch transition from “ones to watch” to flag carriers for their scene. For many, it will be a contender for Album of the Year – and for anyone that’s followed their story over the years, this is the album the captures what the band is about and what makes the Kings of Norfolk quite so special.
If you are in the mood for a collection of well-crafted, catchy tunes that you’ll play over and over, the new Bad Touch album could well be your essential album purchase of 2023.
Bittersweet Satisfaction is released on 10th November 2023 via Marshall Records.
For album pre-orders and concert info visit: https://badtouchrocks.co.uk/shop/
BAD TOUCH ARE:
Stevie Westwood – Vocals
Daniel Seekings – Guitar
Rob Glendinning – Guitar
George Drewry – Drums
Michael Bailey – Bass
AUTUMN LIVE DATES:
28 Blackpool, The Waterloo Music Bar
29 Edinburgh, Rockinburgh
30 Sunderland, Independent
21 Bully-On-The Rocks Festival, FR
22 Oct Kavka, Antwerp, BE