So Mosh already reviewed this one, but Ross has been away for a while and he still wanted to jump on this release when he got back. Who are we to refuse a second opinion?
We’ve long followed Bad Touch and their continual growth as artists and performers, so it would be remiss if this was the first time we didn’t review their latest album. Already released, Kiss the Sky picks up where their previous album left off. Indeed, it’s still big hair and big bluesy classic rock riffs aplenty.
As the opening riff of “Come a Little Closer” begins and vocalist Stevie Westwood’s familiar wails join the action, you immediately know it’s business as usual and it’s a classic Bad Touch tune. What follows is another dozen tracks of prime cut Bad Touch goodness, featuring all the hallmarks and dialled up to the proverbial eleven. Well, eleven plus a cover.
More rocky, punchier and a helping of grit while maintaining the swagger and heart of the original, “I Got the Music in Me” is a masterclass in how to cover a song. It pays reverence to Kiki Dee’s original whilst bringing their own twist to proceedings to the point where if you weren’t aware it was a cover, you’d swear it was one of theirs.
There’s a whole load of highlights across the album such as the title track, the aptly-named “Strut” and the rambunctious “Too Much of a Good Thing” and in all of their upbeat numbers, it evokes the spirit of those early 70s classic rock bands. However, the band have always known how to write a tamer moment or two and it’s repeated here with the tender “See You Again”, an acoustic-driven ode to a departed father. Meanwhile, closing track “Something About Your Kiss” has that ethereal feel Bad Company had with “Seagull” and works perfectly as the album’s parting shot.
While Bad Touch know their bread and butter, they’re not afraid to experiment with the funkier edge of “Before I Die” which nestles well with the more traditional sounds. Elsewhere, “I Get High” is the band at their swaggering best with its feel-good vibe and gospel-like backing vocals as blues-drenched riffs and solos flood your speakers.
Even down to the arrangements, it’s still Bad Touch doing what they do best – Rob Glendinning and Daniel Seekings expertly weaving between each other as they batter out their riffs with plenty of solos for good measure. Meanwhile George Drewry’s drums sit up front and centre with the rest of the band and works perfectly as always with Michael Bailey’s thundering bass lines. Westwood’s vocals are as powerful and soulful as ever but it’s here where the album has its only stumbling block. While they all put in great performances for their respective instrument of choice, Westwood’s vocals feel a touch lower in the mix at several points. But it’s a minor niggle and would be a bigger issue if it was the entire album.
Kiss the Sky isn’t about reinventing Bad Touch. It’s about refining who they are. This is their most mature and confident work to date. It’s a great jumping in point and there’s plenty of time to let the tracks get under your skin before they (hopefully) head out on tour next April in support of it. If it’s foot-stomping, good-time classic rock you’re after, you need this album.
Header image by Will Ireland
Kiss the Sky is out now