Mellow mellifluous melodies. The Bads are a girl/boy duo from New Zealand; you could call them a guitar-based pop/rock group, or even a “popular beat combo” (as John Peel used to say). But that would just be lazy pigeonholing, so if you pretend you didn’t read that then I will pretend I didn’t write it. Anyway, it seems that of the two Bads, Diane does most of the singing, with Brett singing backup and breaking into the lead occasionally. I can’t find any information on what they each play, so I suppose they are both prodigious multi-instrumentalist polymaths.
Song titles such as Feels Like Rain, Trouble Rides A Fast Horse and Bush Fire Sunset make this sound like good ol’ country music. The first of these songs does sound pretty much like that, with its lazy drawl and twangin’ guitar, but the rest of the album shows some nice variation. The opening song Off The Rails has just the most irresistible chorus — I find it tremendously uplifting, in a minor-key sort of way. The driving Carry The Weight is another of my favourites, with powerful guitar and nice male/female harmonies.
I heard a couple of these tracks on the radio a few months ago, and liked them enough to write a note in my notebook: “The Bads(?) Earth From Space”. One morning a few weeks ago I glanced at the notebook and saw that cryptic scrawl. That afternoon I stumbled upon the CD in a shop — I felt this was a sign that I should buy it.
The Bads’ sound reminds me a bit of a couple of slightly less obscure bands: The Murmurs and Dusty Trails. In fact maybe Earth From Space sits halfway between The Murmurs’ strident singalongs and Dusty Trails’ languid and gentle Americana. While The Murmurs don’t really maintain my interest throughout a whole album, I could easily listen to the Dusty Trails album all day long. And Earth From Space is that good too — I’ve got it on repeat in my retro CD player right now.