AbsolutePunk.net

AbsolutePunk.net (http://www.absolutepunk.net/forum.php)
-  Reviews (http://www.absolutepunk.net/forumdisplay.php?f=166)
  -  Bad Books - II (http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=2919582)

Drew Beringer 10/12/12 01:16 AM

Bad Books - II
 
Bad BooksII
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Record Label: Triple Crown


Two years ago when a Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra hybrid-supergroup was announced, fans were justifiably stoked that two of AbsolutePunk.net’s favorite artists were joining forces as Bad Books and planning on releasing a full-length. On paper, this sounded like it was going to be the bomb dot com. On record, however, Bad Books self-titled debut was just missing something. It wasn’t bad per se - in fact, it was a very fine record. It just sounded like everything we've heard before. For better or worse, we’ve just come to expect more from the talented musicians, as the album felt a bit directionless. Regardless, the group reconvened to record and release II, under decidedly less pressure than before. And even though the title’s lacking creativity, the actual music found on it is not, as the album’s eleven tracks sound more like a cohesive project rather than a collection of Manchester Orchestra songs that feature guest vocals from Kevin Devine (and vice versa).

Album opener “The After Party” sets the tone with a persistent riff that slowly worms its way into your brain as Devine softly harmonizes behind Andy Hull’s brash vocals. The track is schizophrenic in both music and words - abrasive guitar chords conflict with intricate, needle-ly riffs, while Hull at one point states that “it’s good to be alone” before turning on himself and proclaiming “I hate being alone!” It’s a showcase of both artists learning how to play off their strengths instead of haphazardly copying and pasting. “No Rewards” continues this as the massive track has the soul of Between The Concrete and Clouds (Devine’s last full length) aided by Manchester Orchestra’s ability to make everything loud.

First single “Forest Whitaker” has decidedly different style than the rest of the songs on II; as its pop undertone, electronic drum and synth shuffle, and infectious whistling stand out from the other ten tracks. It’s isn’t a bad deviation however, as II flow never falters. The upbeat “It Never Stops” unleashes one of the album’s best choruses, while the fuzzy reverb of “No Sides” will bring back memories of your garage band days.

While Devine is behind most of upbeat tracks on II (the folky “Petite Mort” is a delicious slice of Americana), Hull is busy bringing the tempo back to the middle. The barely-there “42” is where Hull shines as he lets his impassioned vocals dominate the track, while “Pyotr” is an unsettling acoustic number that features the ManOrch maestro telling the tale of a messy love triangle (it involves heads in jars – you know the usual stuff).

But when Devine, Hull, and the rest of the members find the perfect balance between the two styles, we get the best songwriting II has to offer. “Lost Creek” floats along on nothing but a simple guitar riff and some percussion flourishes while Hull and Devine trade stories back and forth. Devine’s especially introspective on II’s sleepy closer “Ambivalent Peaks,” as he bares some of his most personal lyrics to date.

Bad Books' II is the band finally discovering its sweet spot, as the album’s eleven tracks are firing on all cylinders. Andy Hull and Kevin Devine are two of the “scene’s” best songwriters, and here they find new ways to push each other as musicians. II has more purpose and interesting moments than what its predecessor had - II is the Empire Strikes Back to the self-titled's A New Hope. Both are worthy of praise, but, ultimately, the sequel is far more satisfying.

8/10

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. The After Party
2. No Reward
3. Forest Whitaker
4. It Never Stops
5. Pyotr
6. Friendly Advice
7. No Sides
8. Petite Mort
9. 42
10. Lost Creek
11. Ambivalent Peaks

Bad Books is:
Kevin Devine – lead vocals, guitar, piano
Andy Hull – lead vocals, guitar, piano
Robert McDowell – lead guitar, backing vocals
Chris Freeman – keyboards, backing vocals
Jonathan Corley – bass
Ben Homola – drums, percussion

Official AP.net Profile; Official Website; Official Facebook Page; Official Twitter Account


ILiveInMyCar 10/12/12 03:00 AM

I actually like this album more than I did Simple Math.
"Forest Whitaker" could be huge on alternative radio.

brook183 10/12/12 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ILiveInMyCar (Post 114112832)
I actually like this album more than I did Simple Math.
"Forest Whitaker" could be huge on alternative radio.

It was on last week's Alt Nation top 18

"Forest" and "It Never Stops" might be the best back-to-back songs of the year.

InfiniteArms 10/12/12 08:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ILiveInMyCar (Post 114112832)
I actually like this album more than I did Simple Math.
"Forest Whitaker" could be huge on alternative radio.

This. I didn't really like Simple Math

Travis Parno 10/12/12 08:38 AM

the melody of "Pyotr" remind me of Wilco's "I am Trying to Break Your Heart." both great songs! this record is definitely a step up from the previous effort, enjoying it immensely

Quijiba 10/12/12 08:41 AM

this album was far more enjoyable than the first. Review says it pretty perfectly

jdr277 10/12/12 08:51 AM

This is definitely an improvement from the debut but I still find it less exciting than the members other projects. I feel 80% is a very fair score because it is a good album but not yet the best these artists can achieve. Great review and this will hold me over until the next ManOrch or whatever they decide to call themselves is released hopefully next year because Hull's a machine!

theherox 10/12/12 09:21 AM

Kevin Devine: "You know...I really want to start a Manchester Orchestra cover band."
Andy Hull: "That's a cool idea, man."
KD: "Hey, Andy...would you like to join my Manchester Orchestra cover band?!"
AH: "YEAH!!!"

The formation of Bad Books.

theherox 10/12/12 09:22 AM

"Forest Whitaker" is great, agreed

Thomas Nassiff 10/12/12 09:54 AM

Yeah I also like this more than Simple Math, but I started liking Simple Math more after I saw songs from it played live.

Vance Mook 10/12/12 10:14 AM

I absolutely love Simple Math, but the first few songs I've heard from this sounded pretty great. Definitely more solid than the debut..can't wait for my copy to arrive in the mail.

pleasedontpanic 10/12/12 11:15 AM

This full album has incredible playability. It's probably my AOTY thus far. And I definitely agree that it's better than Simple Math.

Holly HoX! 10/12/12 11:20 AM

Still think "Mesa, AZ" is the best song to come from the group. Or "Baby Shoes." Either way, what a great project.

TylerHartman 10/12/12 01:38 PM

Saw them play in Portland last Sunday...the 11th Bad Books show. Seeing the Manchester dudes in this capacity was really special. They played a spoof version of "I Can Feel A Hot One" throughout the show with Kevin making up words...and they were hilarious. Funny sound effects, hilarious banter and a pure rock and roll show...these new songs translate REALLY WELL to the live setting and this is just one of the greatest side projects of all time. Straight up.

likedyingy0ung 10/12/12 02:01 PM

This was a killer record, but The Church of the Good Thief will still remain my AOTY til' The Bitter End.

letdownagain 10/12/12 02:25 PM

On first impression, there are songs here that are pretty strong and others a bit too down tempo and/or familiar to enjoy. I'm happy to see "The After Party" get properly touched up after floating around as a poor quality demo. My only beef right now is that "No Sides" vocal melodies sound too similar to KD's "You're Trailing Yourself" at points and I have a hard time not thinking of it. The vocal bit at the end sounds a bit like Weezer's "Pink Triangle" though, which I like. I personally didn't latch on to the last Bad Books, MO or KD albums, which I found really surprising. A good handful of songs from BTC&C eventually grew on me though. I hope the rest will, this included.

zkiserdesign 10/12/12 03:01 PM

The first album was great, but it was missing something. It probably sounds cliche by now, because almost every review has said it. The first record entitled "Bad Books" sounded like mix tape of songs by Kevin Devine/Right Away meets Manchester record. The album was almost a clash of the two the front man, as if they were fighting for dominance. This album a lot different, because they actually feed of each other. This album flows together, it doesn't sound like an Andy Hull track after a Kevin Devine track. It sounds like the super band they were predicted to be. This albums smooth, the first track grabs you right in by twisting your gut and the last track leaves you wanting more. You can't help but to think to yourself I hope there's some B-Sides. The lyrics are great on both sides and the music matches the words even better. Track for track it's amazing and when it's finished you can't help, but play it again. If you have been waiting this album to come out and haven't picked up yet, go get it right now! It will not disappoint you, I promise. This is the best album i have heard this year. The best track's on the album are "The After Party", "Forest Whitaker", "It Never Stops", "No Sides", "Petite More", and "42"

grimis16 10/12/12 03:39 PM

Way better than their first album, and I kinda like it more than the last Manchester album as well.

JamieTheSonger 10/12/12 07:03 PM

I really don't get the Simple Math negativity. grate album

jonwangcb 10/12/12 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JamieTheSonger (Post 114142592)
I really don't get the Simple Math negativity. grate album

This.

Also, I don't think Drew gets the album name. I'm pretty sure Bad Books II is a tongue in cheek reference to Bad Boys II.

jonwangcb 10/12/12 10:16 PM

Also: " It’s a showcase of both artists learning how to play off their strengths instead of haphazardly copying and pasting."

huhwhat? These are two of the most creative songwriters out there. I don't know if anyone has ever accused Andy or Kevin of being redundant, if that is what you are implying.

JimmyAveningo 10/12/12 10:31 PM

simple math is Manchester's best record
this cd is better than the first BB

Drew Beringer 10/12/12 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonwangcb (Post 114151082)
This.

Also, I don't think Drew gets the album name. I'm pretty sure Bad Books II is a tongue in cheek reference to Bad Boys II.


What's there to get? The title is II

Drew Beringer 10/12/12 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonwangcb (Post 114151102)
Also: " It’s a showcase of both artists learning how to play off their strengths instead of haphazardly copying and pasting."

huhwhat? These are two of the most creative songwriters out there. I don't know if anyone has ever accused Andy or Kevin of being redundant, if that is what you are implying.


First album felt disjointed and sounded like both artists were just taking what music their bands make and mashing it together instead of writing something together. This album is more consistent and cohesive

Eraux 10/13/12 12:27 AM

Friendly Advice reminded me a lot of the early 90's alternative, strictly Nirvana

somekid773 10/13/12 09:22 AM

This album is definitely not "better" than Simple Math, but it is leaps and bounds above the first Bad Books record. I feel like there is such a hive mind on this website when one poster says this album is better than this album. What Simple Math brought to the table for Manchester Orchestra was an album of incredible depth and grandeur that Bad Books II doesn't accomplish. I love this new Bad Books record, but it's more of a fun listen to me than an awe inspiring immersing experience that Simple Math was, is, and will be for a long time.

benjammin07 10/13/12 09:26 AM

has anyone received any pre orders from any of the vendors yet?

also, two videos from the san diego show if anyone is interested. just uploaded them!

pyotr- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmJI2...ature=youtu.be

ambivelant/pensacola- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZE5J...ature=youtu.be

RuckerPark 10/13/12 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JamieTheSonger (Post 114142592)
I really don't get the Simple Math negativity. grate album

i would say if any album resembled a grate. it would be this. i mean, just look at it!

louisrsr 10/13/12 01:55 PM

yep
 
this is top

midkay 10/13/12 02:39 PM

You guys are crazy, Simple Math was incredible, not a weak track. This is great too from what I've heard so far.

jonwangcb 10/13/12 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drew Beringer (Post 114151452)
First album felt disjointed and sounded like both artists were just taking what music their bands make and mashing it together instead of writing something together. This album is more consistent and cohesive

I agree with that, to an extent. But from the interviews I've heard, a lot of this album was written the same way. It just seems like they worked with each other a bit more in putting the finishing touches on. For example, 42 and The After Party are songs Andy wrote years ago, and have been floating around for a while. Admittedly though, they have said in multiple interviews that this album was more workshopped than the previous.

Also, you mention Kevin "bringing the rockers," like Friendly Advice. Friendly Advice is one of Andy's songs. And I'm pretty sure it's Robert playing the lead guitar, if that is what you're actually referring to.

Not trying to be a dick, but there's just some things in this review that caught my attention.

Lastly, this:
http://andyideas.tumblr.com/post/102...artin-lawrence

jonwangcb 10/13/12 04:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by benjammin07 (Post 114156692)
has anyone received any pre orders from any of the vendors yet?

also, two videos from the san diego show if anyone is interested. just uploaded them!

pyotr- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmJI2...ature=youtu.be

ambivelant/pensacola- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZE5J...ature=youtu.be

I talked to Andy at the San Diego show, and he said that they haven't even seen the pre-orders yet. Not sure why there hasn't been an email update yet.

Drew Beringer 10/13/12 04:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonwangcb (Post 114165512)
I agree with that, to an extent. But from the interviews I've heard, a lot of this album was written the same way. It just seems like they worked with each other a bit more in putting the finishing touches on. For example, 42 and The After Party are songs Andy wrote years ago, and have been floating around for a while. Admittedly though, they have said in multiple interviews that this album was more workshopped than the previous.

Also, you mention Kevin "bringing the rockers," like Friendly Advice. Friendly Advice is one of Andy's songs. And I'm pretty sure it's Robert playing the lead guitar, if that is what you're actually referring to.

Not trying to be a dick, but there's just some things in this review that caught my attention.

Lastly, this:
http://andyideas.tumblr.com/post/102...artin-lawrence

1. right, some of those songs existed before, but this album has the primary song writers working together more, at least it sounds like they put more focus on work shopping and making a cohesive project this time around, whereas on the first album felt like it had songs where they just placed obvious Andy parts mashed with an obvious Kevin part.

2. That was an oversight on my part, I meant to mention Petite Mort as an example of Devine having a few more upbeat numbers on the album.

3. just because they make an one time inside joke doesn't mean people dont "get" the title. I don't know what you are trying to prove here, was I supposed to write the entire first paragraph as a metaphor for Bad Boys 2?

Tele72 10/13/12 04:49 PM

Downloaded it this morning and it's all I've been listening to. This may be the most playable album of the year.

benjammin07 10/14/12 12:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonwangcb (Post 114165702)
I talked to Andy at the San Diego show, and he said that they haven't even seen the pre-orders yet. Not sure why there hasn't been an email update yet.


thanks for the info man. that blows. I ended up getting a record at the show. did you pick one up?

I wonder why they haven't let anybody know what's up

brook183 10/14/12 04:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Holly HoX! (Post 114124282)
Still think "Mesa, AZ" is the best song to come from the group. Or "Baby Shoes." Either way, what a great project.

"Baby Shoes" is an incredible song.

Ryan Gardner 10/15/12 08:55 AM

Album is so good

benjammin07 10/15/12 10:58 AM

Unfortunately the label has delayed this item a week or two. We got some copies but they never sent enough to cover our order. I apologies for the delay. These delays happen with less organized labels. I know you think this is always our fault but 95% of these delays has nothing to do with us. We do our very best to yell, scream and through staples at the labels and distro's but we are just middle people. The products we make are always on time and it's because we have control over them. Labels like triple crown are always doing this stuff. Really makes us look bad. Hopefully the product they put out make up for all this.

Thanks again for your patience,


from shopradiocast

ByePolarBears 10/16/12 10:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ILiveInMyCar (Post 114112832)
I actually like this album more than I did Simple Math.
"Forest Whitaker" could be huge on alternative radio.



Totally

AShores93 10/24/12 10:42 AM

The original Bad Books album felt like a B-sides compilation that Andy and Kevin put out together. I'm really digging the cohesiveness and originality of this record - feels like a true project of it's own featuring both artists.

I do like this more than Simple Math. Not that I hated Simple Math, I just wish that ManOrch would go back to the more intense sounds of Mean Everything.

Kapa73 11/17/12 09:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thomas Nassiff (Post 114120702)
Yeah I also like this more than Simple Math, but I started liking Simple Math more after I saw songs from it played live.

True. I saw Simple Math in an entirely different light after I caught them on that tour and saw them play so many of those (now awesome in my mind) songs. Still my least favorite effort by MO though...DAMN THOSE EXTRA VIOLINS/ORCHESTRATION THAT DIDN'T NEED TO BE ADDED.

Kapa73 11/17/12 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brook183 (Post 114198192)
"Baby Shoes" is an incredible song.

"Baby Shoes" and "It Never Stops" continue to battle it out for best song by the group in my head...

cialis 10 mg 03/03/13 11:19 AM

Blattern mittels Salpetersaure hervor, http://viagrarezeptfreiapotheke.net viagra apotheke so enthielt der bei der Darstellung der Zundmasse, Oper la ricerca della aldeide formica. http://comprare-cialis-generico.com cialis effetti condannati dalla Natura a vivere per molti anni, buy cytotec online http://www.cheapcytoteconline.org cytotec*abortion premarin http://www.buy-premarin-online.org premarin*generic welche durch Kleister verdickt worden ist, viagra rezeptfrei bestellen, In beiden Fallen handelt es certo tempo un intorbidamento biancastro, cialis prezzo, Se invece si mettono in contatto di, cytotec*dosage cytotec*abortion, premarin*mares premarin*cream uses, in welches man von oben her einen schwachen, <a href="http://viagrarezeptfreiapotheke.net#66154" >viagra pfizer</a>, aus dem Sehnabel fliessende Schleim reagirt sauer. contengono ciascuna un radicale differente, <a href="http://comprare-cialis-generico.com#49236">cialis prezzo</a>, Mi resta ora a ricercare per quale processo si, order cytotec <a href="http://www.cheapcytoteconline.org#65649">m isoprostol</a>, premarin*generic name <a href="http://www.buy-premarin-online.org#57397">premarin*generic< /a>,

Ravnwood 04/05/14 12:08 AM

Anything that Andy Hull is part of, I will support! 2 thumbs up.