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Bad Llamas - EP Review: What Even Is Bad Llamas

30 Dec 2019 // A review by Tom Ashman

The new EP from Christchurch rockers Bad Llamas is a groovy and melodic morsel of timeless rock n roll, delivering a gut-punch of powerful rhythms, hooky melodies and witty, well-written lyrics. What Even Is Bad Llamas is a collection of four tracks each with its own distinct vibe. A creative and varied sound permeates the record and the excellent musicianship is showcased in the high quality of the recording and mixing.

We kick things off with Confused & Losing’s bombastic opening chord stabs before slipping easily into the fuzzed up, melodic lead line. The groove carries the song along in an easy-going Allman Brothers kind of way, with a couple of key changes thrown in for good measure. If this track was a person they would be wearing aviators and Cuban heels and almost certainly be involved in cocaine trafficking.

Maybe We’re Alright (Now), takes a slight detour into the more reflective side of things while retaining the band’s quirky and distinctive lead guitar melodies. It has a particularly interesting pulse and the percussion and rhythm guitar have some subtle but effective complexities in the verse that are complemented by the cascading arpeggios of the lead. There are some juicy chords in there that spin the sonic story of the song different ways. The vocals stand out on this track as being particularly versatile and evocative.

Next is the funky, choppy Reisling. A heartfelt ode to the German sweet-stuff that has more than a touch of latter day Zeppelin to it while always remaining inherently original. The main riff is a fantastic, stacked up, funk-fest that slots neatly into the mix with the righteous rhythms and the spectacular drumming. The Llamas are on top groove form here, exuding a kind of rock swagger that is often sorely missed in the modern music scene.

Wrapping up proceedings Early Hours is another dip into the swamp of excess and good-times crafted by the Bad Llamas. A 2/4 bop with all the hallmarks that we’ve come to expect from this band. Fuzzed out lead, pumping bass, intricate drums, and raw and raucous vocals. The mix lends the track a particular sense of clarity, with great separation between each instrument and no muddiness. There is also some awesome backing vocals that really help to lift the track.

What Even Is Bad Llamas is the first taste of what this extraordinary and exciting band can do. The EP does a great job of displaying the groove and well-honed sound that the Bad Llamas have obviously worked diligently to create. They manage to evoke a taste or a feel of various influences without sounding at all derivative of anything in particular. The Bad Llamas would not have been out of place been touring in the mid 70's along with the likes of Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin, but instead we are lucky enough to have them rocking in the present day.

It is rare that a band has the level of chemistry that is apparent between Sam Brown, Andy Kindon, Jimi McLaughlin and Ed Millington. Each a master of their respective instrument not only in a technical sense but also in the way that they seem to be able to communicate something personal in their individual styles, combining and complementing each other with a passion and confidence that builds into an almighty visceral collective. Keep an eye out for the Bad Llamas plying their trade on a stage near you!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Bad Llamas

Bad Llamas play original music, currently recording, formed in Christchurch 2018.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Bad Llamas


What Even Is Bad Llamas
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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