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Bad Taste - Album Review: Bad Taste II

27 Jun 2023 // A review by Callum Wagstaff
Straight out of Whanganui, just down the road from my neck of the woods, Bad Taste comprises the 70's Prog Rock and Spaghetti Western inspired Alphabethead and the lyrically adept and furious at society Young Gho$t.

Over a year in the making, Bad Taste II is the follow up to their self-titled debut. The pair have been working silently in their shambolic Whanganui record-room/home-studio and now emerge with 14 tracks of Hip Hop psychedelia to take unsuspecting ears by storm. This is a body of work that is both sonically varied and entirely cohesive, made with love and inspired by the sample-heavy, crusty creation of artists such as Madlib, RZA and MF Doom.

Bad Taste II is a pastiche of aural candy and blood pressure-altering lyrical cadences. There's something new to hear round every corner. It goes from groin-deep bass grinds to warbled deformed bell tone highs in a single beat. Every track is packed to the hilt with media references. It would take a small lifetime to trace the amount of samples Alphabethead has pasted together. It's a seamless montage of phrases that colour the world of Bad Taste II.

Young Gho$t runs the gamut between tongue-in-cheek tomfoolery and biting existential cynicism. There's a running theme of references to simulation theory and climate defeatism, but he's also able to revel in the artform and stay playful like in the angular wordplay of one of my favourite tracks What's It All About: "On my euclidian shit/ I'm spitting geometry/ cutting shapes, head spinning wheel shapes/ I'm making pottery. Getting silent P I'm Ptolemy."

He's also able to add to the Alphabethead pop culture soup with gems like Judgment Day's opening: "I walk in/ Terminator vibes/ I need your clothes, your boots, your motorcycle and your knives." His rhythm is engrossing. I often get sucked in and forget to breathe.

Face Down has some of his most relatable lyrics for me personally: "I channel my intelligence and use it for nothing, tell my friends I'm doing music or something," as well as the defiantly juvenile "call me Peter Pan because I'll never be a grown up I'ma stay a little fuck."

Alphabethead shows how to craft a satisfying, dragging, groove in songs like the spooky Dot-to-Dot and the bombastic intro track This Heat, which opens on a cacophony of horns and descends into a perfect tempo grind, pushed on by a grunty, distorted bass tone. It feels like an underdeveloped film stock with the
contrast and saturation turned up to max and then set on fire.

He turns a detuned acoustic guitar riff into a gut-wrenchingly compelling motif on Slow Down, blasts sci-fi tones like a weaponized movie company intro, and turns VHS tape degradation into a musical instrument.

He also splices in beautiful jazz chords, soul music and funk stylings, particularly in the last two tracks, Like Lavender and Weird Weekends. These tracks move the emotional gravity of the album from the gut to the chest and allowed me to leave the experience feeling relaxed and optimistic. I'm a big fan  of brutal endings but I found myself grateful for the mood-altering return to 'chillness'.

Bad Taste II will be supported by the duo's first countrywide tour, with stops planned in Whanganui, Poneke, Ohinehou and Tamaki Makaurau. Flanked by a diverse cast of talented support acts, they cordially invite you to be serenaded by the dual-headed advance of Young Gho$t's lyrical creativity and Alphabethead's turntable wizardry.
Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Bad Taste

Bad Taste is the musical brainchild of Alphabethead and Young Gho$t. The two multidisciplinary artists joined forces in 2020 and have been creating cathartic, psychedelic hip-hop ever since then, putting their own spin on a range of classic sounds.

In 2021 their debut album, Bad Taste, was nominated for an SRN Award for best album. It did not win, but clearly people liked it anyway.

In 2023, they release their follow up - Bad Taste II. Let's see how that goes.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Bad Taste


Bad Taste II
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Bad Taste
Year: 2021
Type: Album

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