The effervescent, lively full-on band Bad Touch has left the stage and have popped into Orange Tree Studios and captured their authentic sound of modern rock that pops with southern swirls with the vitality of that rock n’ roll good time feel. Shake A Leg is the band’s third album and follows hot on the heels of their 2016 breakthrough release of Truth Be Told. The band is now signed to Marshall Records and this is the sound that warrants been played at 11! Bad Touch definitely Shake A Leg as they launch the album with the opening track Lift Your Head Up. The drumming and guitar makes you lift your head up and listen to the opening refrain from the vocalist and the band has your undivided attention for the next forty plus minutes as they get more personal and show a hungry ambition to raise the songwriting game. The album is superbly produced and as producer Andy Hodgson of Orange Tree Studios says “Bad Touch are super fun, super cool and they totally rock. Being a producer, we are prone to abuse, but these guys took it easy on me. Bad Touch were amazing to work with. This album is going to be huge.”
Track two of any album is for me one that defines the shape and feel of the piece of work. The opening track grabs your attention, but will it be held. Yes, it will as the Hammer Falls. The guitar opening is sharp with a spring in the step as the drums join in adding rhythmic tensions then the whole band play to be conquered by the searing vocals of Stevie and superb backing vocals. This is a song where the lyrics touch us all, we have all had those fair-weather friends who disappear into the dust when life gets hard and you really need them when the hammer falls! The guitar solo is stupendous, the emotion is captured of being left standing when you have no-one to turn to. This is a great exploration of the complexity of the relationship between friends. Friends that are not just those that randomly clicked like of your social media postings.
The album progresses with foot-stomping party tracks of Too Many Times & Dressed To Kill. One thing for certain you cannot listen to the album too many times – Bluesdoodles WARNING – the album is addictive and you will keep playing whilst you wait to hear the band live on stage again so we can dance fast and with a smile when dressed to kill.
The single is up next Skyman. Wow! What a tribute to Duane Allman with the play on his nickname Skydog. A number that stops you in your tracks; you forget what you are doing, life is on hold for three minutes. Bold, fearless wrapping of lyrics and vocals in a cascading sound of guitars, bass and drumming, the band is in perfect harmony with a synergy and deep understanding of the direction of musical travel they want to take. Skyman encapsulates the gritty, dirty melodic interweaving that is the captivating allure of Bad Touch. Looking forward to the live version, hoping it is extended as on the album you are left wanting more…
Follow that! Will this be a filler or a bridging track? No of course not this is Bad Touch’s Shake A Leg album, every one of the thirteen tracks have a sense of purpose and belongs on an album that is full of delicious sonic morsels. The tempo slows with I Belong, full of southern textures a homage to the place you call home, where you were born the song has a grounded feel that whatever adventures, when the low points in your life hit you hard – there is one certainty the place you belong.
Like many albums, the complexities of relationships are explored. From friendship in Hammer Falls through to finding love on Tussle, Believe in Me, finding the person that makes you feel whole and Moving On Up end of a relationship and having the strength to move on. All four of these personal tracks are tracks that looks at relationships from different angles have a distinct approach. Tussle has a frenetic nervous energy captured as we swirl around in the maelstrom looking for the path that leads to love in all its forms. Tussle works because the lyrics are delivered with a heartfelt authenticity, sung from experience as the guitar cries and the drums pound in desperation. Believe In Me has a feeling of completeness and then the fear that you cannot live up to your own, and the person that makes you feel whole, expectations. A beautiful ballad that slows the album down and gives you space to feel and breathe. A real highlight of the album. Leaving a relationship however bad it has become, it is never an easy decision. We cry, try to be strong and the strength character and resilience required is captured perfectly in the driving rhythms and double guitars bouncing of Stevie’s delivery as the story unfolds.
Life is complex and choices have to be made. So the foot stomper Shows Me What It Means is about what you may be missing out on as life unfurls. This is high-octane energy captured. This is one hot candle that is burning. Southern rock given that dramatic edge by the delivery of the song by the whole band. Once you look at your life doubts flood in through the open door, you often feel lost and alone. This is explored with glorious bass lines from Michael on Take Me Away. The lyrics may be about the emotional torment of feeling lost, but Bad Touch are never lost they know what music they want us to here. The interplay between the guitars and Stevie’s vocals once again fuel a song energised by solar power.
The album slows as the penultimate track Slow Tempest continues looking at life and how it might seem dark at times. The acoustic adds to the pathos but this is not about despairing it is about looking forward to the sunny day that will be here soon. We just all need to get through the dark times on this country fuelled Slow Tempest. This is a beautiful track that once again demonstrates the deep breadth of sounds, textures and tempos that Bad Touch explores throughout their emotionally driven Shake A Leg.
How to close this magnificent album with the obvious and uplifting foot stomper or something different. This is Bad Touch never expect the obvious… They close with Bury Me (When I’m Gone) the song leaves you breathless, uplifted and sitting staring at the speaker in wonderment, replay the track and then the album again. The number that closes out Shake A Leg has a moving simplicity. Every word resonates and “No-one here’s to stay… nothing seems to last these days” sings Stevie as the album falls to silence. Leaving the last word to the Band. “This song was recorded in one take with George, Rob and Stevie sitting together in the live room. It’s a sad and lonely song, but nevertheless uplifting. We really hope that comes across.”
Shake A Leg, the band have nailed it the harmonies and humongous riffs deep with emotion and Stevie’s vocals purr, rage and make you smile building from the solid and rattling good rhythms laid down by Michael & George. The two guitars for Rob & Daniel add the vibrant, exciting tones and textures to the vim and vigour of the sound that defines Bad Touch.
Definitely never pure blues. BUT you have to ask has one branch of the blues morphed into Southern Rock. Why? Bad Touch play with feeling, passion and are the authentic sound of a band that wants to send a message and entertain.
TENdoodle paws out of TEN …
Bad Touch – Shake A Leg – Released Friday 5th October – Marshall Records
The album will be available on CD, Digital Download and gold Vinyl.
- Lift Your Head Up
- Hammer Falls
- Too Many Times
- Dressed To Kill
- I Belong
- Show Me What It Means
- Take Me Away
- Moving On Up
- Slow Tempest
- Bury Me (When I’m Gone)
Stevie Westwood – Vocals
Rob Glendinning – Guitar
Daniel Seekings – Guitar
Michael Bailey – Bass
George Dewry -Drums
The new “Skyman” single will be available to buy as a digital download. The single will also be available as an instant grat track with all pre-orders of the new album. “Shake A Leg” will be supported by a nationwide 18-date UK Headline Tour at Newcastle University Union on Wednesday 17th October.