Croydon based trio Bad Sign are one of those bands that sort of straddle genres, though one is never sure if intentionally or because they are not sure of their own sound themselves yet. The threesome bring a blend of metal, traditional and at times progressive rock sounds to their music and create good powerful tracks that are worthy of a listen. Their new ‘Exit EP’, consisting of 5 tracks full of riffs and powerful music, ebbs and flows within their melodic avenues of sound.
It starts off with the EP’s best track ‘Unknown’, a meaty guitar surge of sound that shows the ability of the band to make great music. A simple drum beat from David Smith kicks it off to be soon joined by the neat melodic play from the guitar of Jon Harris. Vocalist/bassist Joe Appleford adds his voice to the mid pace start and it all plays through with a kind of Pearl Jam flow before building into a full out rock track as Appleford’s bass riffs kick in, taking the track into Sick Puppies territory. As with that band, Bad Sign use the strength of a direct but hook laden bass line as a feature in their songs and I for one have no problem with that, it is the spine for everything else to work off of and it works well here.
From the opening note of ‘Eclipse’ it is the driving element for the track as the prog rock sounds drape around it with an almost soulful flavour. Again, the vocals raise the track up a notch and it is clear Appleford has a voice that is smooth and versatile so why, and I will first add that I think the track is an above average song, does there need to be an effect on his voice. Actually, it is on the whole production throughout the release and for me actually detracts from the sound giving it a kind of hollow echoic ring. I am guessing it is what they were looking for obviously but it does not work for me and apart from the opener where the music either overcomes it or it simply works the EP has suffered for it.
Joe Appleford said himself “We believe there truly is something for everyone on this EP” and going back to an earlier point, there may lie the other problem I have with the release. They do try to cover many sounds and genres without seemingly defining what they want from their own music. Second track ‘Existence’ has a recent Therapy? feel to it and admittedly has a great guitar intro that permeates the song from time to time and lifts it nicely but then we are contrasted by the Biffy Clyro type song ‘Inertia’, again a good track in its own right despite the production but it is not an easy fit alongside the other variations of styles on the EP.
For all my thoughts, I would definitely suggest checking out Bad Sign’s ‘Exit EP’, as the songs are nicely crafted and the lyrics, which I have not touched upon, are thoughtful and emotive. Musically too, there are some fine moments and suggests the band could find their identity really soon and maybe with a different idea for the production I might have been won over even more with this release.
The ‘Exit’ EP is released on April 25th on Bangers, Clive! Records.