I'm Archie, the inventor, I know how things are done... I can make absolutely anything, inventing things is fun! I love Balamory. Not in an 'omg random wacky student' kind of way, I'm just a very nostalgic person. I love the innocence of childhood. I always retreat into such innocence when something all grown up happens, like when my Dad reminds me I really should be driving by now or when I receive a particularly challenging bill. Alas, this is not about me. It's about my cousin Riane. You see, she loves Meat Loaf. Adores him. I used to get all snobbish about her love for Meat (ironic really, she's a vegetarian. Guffaw!) when one day a light clicked in my head and let me embrace FUN MUSIC. Gone were the days of sitting in a dark corner and staring at the ground to 'Pink Moon,' here are the days of 'Paradise By The Dashboard Light' on the Reflex revolving dance-floor.
Well, not quite. But the point remains. Baddies are lucky they're around now, because five years ago they'd have got the perennial miserablist taking care of this record, the dickhead that dismissed Newton Faulkner's massive hit 'Dream Catch Me' because his "mum would like it". Like Newton ever gave a shit anyway.
Let's get one thing straight first. Baddies are a V Festival band. The kind of stuff that would probably be written off as psuedo- Kaiser Chiefs claptrap by those in dire need of something a bit cooler to impress girls with. You see, I'm old enough, wise enough, and sexless enough to not let this be an issue these days. Anything this likeable, catchy and instantly recognisable on second listen really shouldn't be dismissed. Yeah I'm sure I'm reading a little like a hastily put together press release, but there's nothing else to say. It's simple enough.
The most remarkable thing about this record is that I wasn't really taken in at first. In seven minutes of uncharacteristic pre-judgemental weakness, I decided I was in for a tedious 45 minutes or so and left it alone for a couple of hours to go and do pretty much sod all. The opening track 'Rewire' seemed a little throwaway Supergrass/ Maximo Park standard-fare, while the nonsensical 'Man Made Man' ("I stole the eyes from a blind man/ He had no use for them anymore/ I'm gonna build my very own Man Made Man") came across as a bit of a predictable "we need a single at track two" kind of moment. Even after another listen I must confess I'll probably never quite take to it, although the aforementioned 'Rewire' is a lovely little grower.
That's pretty much it for the negatives. Following the ho-hum opening there's a great run of tracks. 'Excess Energy' is the obvious highlight, a great pop song that would fit seamlessly into a FIFA game, right where all the weird Argentine bambo salsa goes. Yeah, it's a bit Kaiser Chiefs, a comparison that however draining to Baddies and everyone else, is pretty undeniable. There's a bit more to this lot though, an ability to craft interesting and endearing music from a pretty basic platform. Sometimes it works to great affect, 'The Lightmen' for example sounds a bit like Holy Bible Manics go pop. Sometimes it falls a bit short like on the shouty meh-ish 'Bronto', but that's a minor gripe. The rest of the songs are a mixture of steady, solid and spectacular, some darker moments, some lighter moments.
There's no denying this could have been a disaster. I'm not one for research and as yet haven't listened to their first album, but I can imagine that's probably a good thing. You see, the problem with reviewing guitar music is it's so easy to slip into lazy comparisons. If you're not comparing this work to the same band's previous work, then you're comparing it to someone else's. The facts remain the same, though. Tear all the hang-ons away and this is a very satisfying effort, one that ticks plenty of boxes but evolves around them all the same. There's a few things that could have worked better but not for the lack of care, and what Baddies have come up with here, for at least two-thirds of 'Build', is a very considered and polished effort. And two out of three ain't bad.
PC Plum...I found your doggie.