Ross reviewed Bad Touch’s last album, Shake A Leg, a couple of years ago and was very impressed, calling it “the best Bad Touch album to date”. Well, I’m a newcomer to the Norfolk rockers so my opinions will be a blank slate with no comparison to their older stuff. A change in perspective!
Bad Touch refer to their blues roots quite frequently, and they’re right to give them credit. From the jangly bass riffs courtesy of Michael Bailey, to the smooth rhythms and leads from Messrs Glendinning and Seekings, the whole album is suffused in swamp water and cigar smoke. This is blues rock with the emphasis spread equally over both key words.
While I’m more into the kind of music you can absolutely rock out to, Kiss The Sky is full of downright funky tones that you can sway and sing to… and it’s brilliant. I enjoyed opener “Come A Little Closer” which really gave me a feel for the band, but second number (and single – you can see the video below) “I Get High”… bloody hell. Love it. Great beat, great lyrics, great build, one of those goosebump-raising solos, and an outro you can sing along to until you go hoarse.
The other single, “Strut” is a very different beast. It soars and it has a slightly sleazy edge to it, sounding more like something from a back room bar. Another brilliant guitar solo, too. “I’ve Got The Music In Me” starts off sounding more like a rocker than a bluesy number and it just ramps that feeling up as it goes. One could argue that it’s a little unoriginal, but… who cares? It’s great fun, and an absolute foot-stomper replete with a brass section kicking around in the background.
Title track “Kiss the Sky” made my mind drift in a Black Stone Cherry direction (never a bad thing). A simple track compared to many of the others, and none the worse for it, and followed by statutory ballad “See You Again”. It’s chucking in a track like this that really shows Bad Touch’s range. Although this album version makes use of the studio environment to add little backing touches (strings, piano), I can see this working really well live as a completely stripped down performance.
Four more wonderfully rocky tracks follow before the closing number “Something About Your Kiss” which starts – and for a long time is – very laid back, almost atmospheric. I’ve seen many metal albums end on something a little ethereal but it doesn’t often happen with this kind of music. However, here we are until three quarters of the way through when it’s apparent we’re here for one last foot stompin’ hoorah prior to the final notes ringing out.
If I have one criticism, it’s that I’d have liked to hear Stevie Westwood’s vocals just a bit higher in the mix in a couple of the tracks. He’s never drowned out, I just feel that for this style of music the singing should be a little more front and foremost. A minor quibble and one which doesn’t really spoil an otherwise hugely enjoyable album. Play it loud and drag out the air guitar for those solos!
Header image by Joby Sessions
Kiss The Sky is released by Marshall Records on June 19th. Pre-order the album from www.badtouchkissthesky.com