i am the silence, you are the marching band

The Mess We’ve Made, the new album from Bad Veins, is power-pop at its finest. Most of the tracks make you want to dance, but it’s not mindless beats and easy repetition that get you there.

The album kicks off with “Child”, full of thick bass and strings. Single “Dancing on TV” follows it up, calling back to some of the fun of mid-90s tracks like Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” and Weezer-offshoot The Rentals’ “Friends with P“. “Don’t Run” closes out the top of the album. One of the more memorable songs from their live show, it radiates pure joy with its cascading strings.

“Not Like You” is appropriately titled for its departure from the sound found on the rest of the album. Loose and jazzy, the bass punches as saxophones slither and hand claps keep the time. There’s a distinctly live feel about it; you can practically see the sidemen in front of you.

Beautiful strings and poetic lyrics mark “If Then” as the takeaway track. While it’s not representative of the majority of the band’s sound, it provides an emotional anchor for the album, much like “Go Home” did for their self-titled debut. Lines like “I am the harbor / your ship has sailed” hit right where it hurts, and the pain is exquisite.

“If Then” was one of the band’s most striking songs during their set at the Majestic Theater in Madison, WI on March 24, 2012. Bad Veins’s songs are multi-layered and lush, so as a two-piece they had the potential to fall short. Not to worry; frontman/guitarist Benjamin Davis is quite funny and drummer Sebastien Schultz is entertaining to watch, his technique full of large, sweeping movements. To flesh out their sound to match what they can do in the studio, Davis and Schultz employ keys, a telephone mic, and, most importantly, a reel to reel named Irene. Their set is polished but not mechanical; Davis is dry but has heart. We are the silence; they are the marching band.

The Mess We’ve Made dropped 04.24.12.
Find out more at their official website.

april mp3 roundup

The D.A. – We Hungry
Bad Veins – Dancing on TV
The Mowglis – San Francisco
Slow Country – Yes You Have

Reptar – Orifice Origami
volcano!  – Pinata
Teen Daze – Treten
Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Atlas Hands
Beach House – Myth