Album review: The Bads, Travel Light

By Lydia Jenkin

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Album cover of Travel Light by The Bads. Photo / Supplied
Album cover of Travel Light by The Bads. Photo / Supplied

This is The Bads' third album under that moniker, although Dianne Swann and Brett Adams have been around much longer. It's their best outing yet, traversing the lovely alt country-tinged pop sound they do so well, to swing down into a valley of darker sentiment, and some adventurous, more rock-oriented arrangements. What results is a beautifully crafted, deeply satisfying album that always lets their guileless vocals rise to the top. Having sung together for more than 25 years, their two voices curl around each other with ease (listen to the almost indefinable Worried Mind), but also have great emotional weight on their own, providing a clever selection of vocal textures. Adams' gorgeous, bare delivery on Don't Forget Yourself is a highlight, and Swann's verses on Fire in a Caravan are goosebump-inducing.

The 11 tracks are full of light - not just lyrical references to it, but in the arrangements, too. Their experience shines through as they somehow wind in everything from violin to intricate percussion or mandolin, on top of the drums, guitars, bass and voice, without compromising on space.

It's an accomplished, beguiling record, one that should appeal to fans of Wilco and Crowded House, and deserves greater recognition.

Stars: 5/5

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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