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The Bads - Travel Light Album Review

02 Apr 2013 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Once the Julie Dolphin, then Boom Boom Mancini, dynamic duo Brett Adams and Dianne Swann are back as The Bads and with a brand new album Travel Light. If neither of the previous band names sound very familiar, perhaps I should throw in that Adams and his guitarist skills have been heard alongside Gin Wigmore and Neil Finn, and Swann has recorded duets with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and OpShop, and was formally a member of kiwi supergroup When the Cat’s Away.

It’s surprising to find that the music from these two with their rich musical history doesn’t sound at all pretentious or forced. One of the many benefits of being in our small nation with its dim limelight and amateur paparazzi is there is nothing pressuring you to go beyond your means. Travel Light isn’t an over-produced, over-hyped, big name pop affair. This is the Bads being the Bads and being damn good at it.

Travel Light has that Indie aesthetic, the kind of Do-What-You-Want style, but not to the point of being unrefined and raw, and there is honesty in the music that only comes from the intimacy of a song writing couple. Two different souls from different walks with a shared experience of the world. Their stories and metaphors are undiluted and real, because they are undiluted and real. They’re based on the real experiences from two people with hearts and heads on their shoulders and not just generalisations that can apply to anyone who listens’ life story.

The word Country has been thrown around to describe the sound of the Bads, but in this modern age of hyphenated genres the word Country doesn’t quite do Travel Light justice. Country conjures images of Merle Haggard and memories of the recently disbanded Oakura Country Music Club. For the younger generations, perhaps Country means Taylor Swift and Jamie McDell

No. The Bads are nothing like Conway Twitty or Willy Nelson and the only similarity between the Bads and Taylor Swift is that Swann also possesses a unique and distinctive voice. If I had to describe it, I say their sound is the sound of Heartland New Zealand. The kind of music played on TV One, more specifically Country Calender. The soundtrack to this nation’s rolling hills, spanning plains and the corrugated iron sheds punctuating the farmland between the hills and the sea.

Travel Light
View Track Listing

About The Bads

The Bads is a vehicle for the musical escapades of Brett Adams and Dianne Swann. Created under the fiery skies of Waitakere, Aotearoa - New Zealand.

Back in the noughties, Dianne Swann and Brett Adams were on their “Big OE” in London and formed their first official musical partnership as The Julie Dolphin.

The Julie Dolphin received glowing accolades from the tough British music press for their album Lit and 2 EPs and toured extensively in the UK headlining their own shows, opened for Green Day, Oasis and Radiohead among others, clocked up strong memories of unique experiences.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Bads


Earth From Space
Year: ????
Type: Album
Losing Heroes
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Travel Light
Year: 2013
Type: Album
So Alive
Year: 2009
Type: Album

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