I had the pleasure of reviewing Bad Touch’s ‘Shake a Leg’ as my first ever music review – and I say pleasure because as soon as I saw the beautifully designed album cover, and heard the first beat of the first song ‘Lift Your Head Up,’ I knew I was going to enjoy this wonderfully dynamic album.
With confidence, I can express that as soon as you press play for any track on this record, you will be nodding your head and moving your foot or swaying gently to the rhythm – it does just what all great music should, makes you feel as though the beat is a part of yourself.
Since 2010 when the band formed in college, members Stevie Westwood, Rob Glendinning, Daniel Seekings, Michael Bailey and George Drewry have been pleasing audiences with fun, up-beat music, and their new album is sure to receive praise for giving the same atmosphere. The band have been on an upward spiral ever since 2012 when they recorded their first EP at the Leeders Farm Studio, touring the UK and performing many live gigs. 2018 is set out to be an extremely big year for the band, as they signed a worldwide album deal with Marshall Records in June, and are ready to tour the UK after the album’s release on the 5th of October.
The first song of the record, ‘Lift Your Head Up,’ begins with the drum, then you are thrust into one of the lovable beats that the band are praised for – a great way to start an album. Stevie Westwood’s vocals are perfect for this track, as they wonderfully mould with the drums, guitars and bass, and are clear enough so anyone could sing along to this addictive song, but fast enough to maintain the energetic pace. Personally, I’d definitely recommend this song for dancing or working out to, as it makes you want to move around and enjoy yourself, no matter what mood you are in. So, if you’re looking for something to make you feel electric, I’d definitely tell you to “lift your head up” from this review and buy the album as soon as possible.
A pleasing guitar riff will permeate your ears at the start of the second song of this album, ‘Hammer Falls,’ before being joined by drum and then everything else. This sudden shift from one continuous beat to an assault on the auditory senses is immediately engaging, again creating the perfect track for being active and having fun. At the same time, the lyrics of this song are rather inspiring, as they seem to want to invigorate anyone listening to live their life to the fullest, before it becomes too late. I know I would be pleased if I enjoyed the rest of my life as much as this song, and I am now sure that if this track came on I wouldn’t hesitate to dance.
‘Too Many Times’ immediately makes you stop and think, as the back beat itself stops and starts, though, not enough to take away from the energy. This song is sure to relate to anyone, whether it makes you think of a boss, an ex, a co-worker, or any person that always seems to say the same load of rubbish. Again, though the lyrics may remind you of something you hate, the track will force you to enjoy yourself despite it. I think we all need to remember this sometimes. One thing I’m sure of though, is that I could never listen to this song “too many times.”
Despite a slightly slower pace, ‘Dressed to Kill’ maintains the up-beat nature of Bad Touch’s music. I have to say that I love that, closer to the start of the song, when the lyrics are being sung, the backing track stops. It brings attention to what is being said and the music separately, so you have time to appreciate both. The two separate parts merge together again at a perfect time though, bringing the song to a whole. As seems to be a theme with this album, and a wonderful one at that, this song encourages the working person who is tired of their day to day life to take a load off, dress up, and go have fun. Further attention is drawn to individual talent with a drum and a guitar solo towards the end.
Bad Touch’s single ‘Skyman’ that was released earlier in the year also has a place on this album. The lyrics of this song are sure to remind anyone listening to it of the someone in their life who keeps them going, lifts them up when they’ve had a bad day and makes sure they have a better night or weekend. Maybe the band themselves, with another vivacious backing track, are what make you have a good time.
For a moment, when ‘I Belong’ started playing, I had to check if I was listening to the same CD. Sure enough, at this point, Bad Touch brings in variety, changing from up-beat and energetic into something slower. This track seems more Western in style, which is hugely different from the Rock of before, but no-less enjoyable to listen to. After a while, the pace of Bad Touch is brought back into the song, but still in a largely different format and style. One thing I can say about this track is that it certainly tells a story, one that, again, most people could relate to. I think this is a real strong point for the band – making music that everyone can understand.
‘Show Me What it Means’ begins with lyrics being sung louder than usual, and soon brings in the rest of the band along with the high-spirited beat and pace again. The main focus of this song seems to be sex, which the song suggests is essential to being human and should be enjoyed as much as the rest of life. I couldn’t stop myself from singing along with this one as I listened to it, as the lyrics are easy to pick up, so you soon feel like you’re a part of the music and the music is a part of you; just like sex, perhaps.
‘Tussle’ is another of the slightly slower songs on the album in terms of beat, but the lyrics are faster than usual, making an interesting contrast. The theme of this track is somewhat similar to that of the last, but explores one-night stands after a fun night out instead of something perhaps more intimate.
There is no doubt in my mind that ‘Take Me Away’ is a song I’d listen to after having an awful day to cheer me up, as the lyrics are very personal and relatable, and the usual up-lifting music of Bad Touch is present again. It is sure to make anyone feel a little better. Half-way though the song, the lyrics become more positive, which is hopefully indicative of the mood of anyone listening to the track by this point. I know I will rely on Bad Touch to “take me away” from any bad day and make me feel like dancing after reviewing this album.
A slow guitar riff begins ‘Believe in Me,’ before being joined by equally slow-paced drums. It is another of the slower songs on the album, one that you feel the need to sway to, perhaps with a partner, at first. The track becomes slightly faster after a while, but is still more relaxing and moving.
‘Movin on Up’ is another song with a lively, head-bobbing atmosphere, that I’m sure will be wonderful to see live on tour. Seemingly, it focusses on the idea of getting away from someone bad in your life, moving on and singing your own song. It reminds you that you deserve better than some people, and should never feel bad about doing something good for yourself in moving on to greener pastures, so to speak. Particularly, I think the drum beat in this song is very noticeable and adds a lot to the atmosphere, but the guitar and bass bring the whole thing together well.
A Western feel is brought back with ‘Slow Tempest,’ another song with a very clear and personal story that anyone listening can relate to. The message seems to be that storms in life will always lead to something more positive – another delightful song to improve anyone’s mood. The length of the track helps even more with its more calming pace and tempo, and allows for all the talents of the band to be clearly heard. I almost wished it wouldn’t end, but was excited for the last track.
Finally, the albums final song ‘Bury Me’ begins slowly, using powerful vocals and guitar to put across another pleasant message about dying, but never really being gone. It also shows that it’s alright for people to need help, despite their strength. This song seems like the perfect one to end an album and a gig, because, though the fun is over, it will always resonate, and might come back again soon.
Overall, Bad Touch’ new album ‘Shake a Leg’ is packed full of songs for every occasion. If you’re angry or upset, bored or tired, want an energetic dance or to sway slowly with someone who means a lot to you, this album provides the perfect song. I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing these tracks, and hope to see Bad Touch live to experience the atmosphere that all these songs bring with other fans – as I can now certainly be counted as one.