Back in the day (And on another blog), I used to do an annual post basically ripping apart Alternative Press’s “100 Bands You Need To Hear In _____” issue. Maybe ripped apart is a bit harsh so let’s say pointed out which of those 100 bands featured actually deserved some attention. Diamonds in the rough, if you will!
One such band was Baddies whose brand of New Wave meets Punk (Think Oingo Boingo crossed with Devo) was a breath of fresh air not only amongst the lemmings of the issue but also out in the real world. After releasing their brilliant sophomore opus, Build, Baddies disbanded and a great void was left in their wake whether music fans realized it or not.
But fear not! The next stage in the evolution of Baddies’ distinct sound and musicality is here in the form of BAIT, an art/music project that is exactly the kind of album listeners never knew they needed. Featuring Baddies brothers Michael & Jim Webster, BAIT is more abrasive, more in-your-face, and more everything compared to their former outfit. If you’re looking for a comparison, then take the quirky New Wave of Wall Of Voodoo and meet in the middle with industrial noiseniks Author & Punisher and you’ll have a small idea of what BAIT is capable of.
Opener “Must Meditate” follows the same train of thought as Devin Townsend’s “Namaste”: A song promoting peace of mind which, in actuality, is the complete opposite. In the case of “Must Meditate”, it begins with a building synth line that escalates into mechanical madness with a flurry of programmed beats and Michael Webster’s barks synching perfectly with a repeated guitar refrain until the off beat chorus throw listeners for another loop.
“Push The Elephant” is probably the most straightforward song on here and the one that most closely resembles Baddies (“Greatest of the Teeth” hits that stride nicely as well) with a driving percussive attack and a guitar that plays like an air raid siren. Quieting things down slightly, the hypnotic “Hate One Another Love Yourselfie” and “I’m Still Here” hint at the diversity within the array of BAIT songs presented on their debut.
“Waspy”, on the other hand, brings the volume levels up with swirling electronics blanketing the programmed beats and Webster’s howls during the chorus. “MZ” takes the noise even further with an amped up, guitar-driven banger led by Webster and a Jaz Coleman-esque manic delivery before segueing into a smooth chorus. Ending with “As Far as the Rope Goes”, BAIT deliver an instant classic song to close out a similarly instant classic of an album that mixes genres perfectly to create something new and fresh while leaving fans wanting more at the same time.