Alice In Chains took the slow and low feel of Black Sabbath and added the disaffected voice of the Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Kate Christiansen ilk to produce a sound that rocketed them to pop status without losing the dedicated support of the underground.
Lo and Behold the beautiful and long-awaited band Badflower. Their EP Temper on Republic Records is a tribute to this sound while representing the next iteration of the disaffected and self-loathing that may be the next big thing. It recalls the birth of Nirvana or the first few chords of Rooster when you first heard both and realized that it was not just OK but cool to be depressed, sad, and pissed off.
Listen to their song Soap and wait for the chorus. The slow melodic descent into the single-line chant of “I need to get my mouth washed out” will quickly bring to mind the same dark imagery of Electric Funeral, Dirt, or even Dam That River. The restraint shown in the lyrics doubles as a dedication to their singular image of a man who “cannot be respectable” and knows that they are but a dirty person in need of cleansing. It’s hard to not think of Alice in Chains and the title track from Dirt. I didn’t contrive this irony, but realized it today as I received concerned looks from other drivers while lip syncing to the Badflower track. It’s hard to keep still when that chorus riff hits.
It has been a long time since I even considered comparing any band or song to Alice in Chains. Their sound was so idiosyncratic that few bands can pull off their genuine desperation without sounding rehearsed. But this track Soap does just that. Here is my impression of the song overall:
The song starts with a pulsating bass line quickly joined by a 8-shot drum staccato that melts into a Alice In Chains – like minor chord progression that provides the hook for the verse. The verse is two lines … One, really. Badflower manages to pack in the emotion and escalating desperation in these few words when sung by Josh Cole Katz.
“Sometimes I cannot be Respectable… It’s hard when you’re looking so delectable
Then comes the aforementioned riff. Ahhh. It would make Jerry Cantrell proud and inspire the addictive wail of Layne Staley. Thus I am presented with another basic irony. Namely that Soap reminds me of Dirt. So if you like Alice In Chains or just good music created by people with instruments, an increasingly rare product in the music industry, I know. you must listen to Soap and to Temper.
Then please tell me if you agree that it sounds like the 90’s have made a comeback. We can only hope, right?