Bad Books - Bad Books
Record Label: Razor and Tie/Favorite Gentlemen Recordings
Release Date: October 19, 2010
Staring down the end of an empty bottle of whiskey is never without a story. There's usually one of two polar opposite reasons. On one end, there was a party previous to the emptying of the glass, but on the other end, there may have been reason to drown sorrow (read, but not advocated). Much of the music that empties out of the heads of both Kevin Devine and Andy Hull ride that polar feeling. For some, there is much hope in the choruses of both songwriters, but not without some personal anguish felt from the lyrical delivery of either musician.
When the two get together, we are to expect much of the same as they are backed by the rest of the musical talent of Manchester Orchestra. While many will see similarities in the two entities' combining force on Bad Books' self-titled debut, most of the album sounds like a new band and less of a collaborative side project. Sure, begin to pick out Devine's song writing voice on "The Easy Mark & The Old Maid" or "You're A Mirror I Cannot Avoid," as they sound like perfect b-sides from last year's Brother's Blood. But the same can be said about Hull's "I Begged You Everything" and the intimate album closing "Texas," sounding like they were picked from the songwriter's side trilogy of Right Away, Great Captain!. That shouldn't take away from any of the songs' passionate deliveries.
Upon hearing the rural, bright opening "How This All Ends" and the upbeat "You Wouldn't Have to Ask," the two songs sound like the two friends not only pushed each other in being creative and fueled by each others' individual songwriting, but also striving to create a separate identity from their respective projects and become a completely new identity all together. The detuned drive of "Holding Down the Laughter" and acoustic garage-tinged ditty of "Baby Shoes" are some of the best examples of making a new face recognizable at heart, but also fresh to the expectancies of the ears.
There's a lot of expectation going into Bad Books that will be hard to shake. Just shake it. Pop in the record and take another journey with familiar musicians you won't be disappointed in. Some roads will seem familiar and others will be a nice change. In short, Bad Books' debut is worthy of a cracked beer and great stories told amongst friends.
Should be interesting. Loved Mean Everything to Nothing but I've never been a Devine fan.
I'm on same boat, I have really given Devine a try, even saw him live, but just can't get into him, i enjoy Andy Hull's solo stuff a lot more than Kevin Devine. Anyway well written review, especially like the opening paragraph will need to check this album out but not too keen on the stuff I have heard.
There's a lot of expectation going into Bad Books that will be hard to shake. Just shake it.
And please be nice. The whole Bad Books band of brothers are the nicest musicians I know of - they are so good to their fans, let's be good to them.
That said, I can't get over how excellent this album is - amazing production and I love the little surprises in the middle of "Holding Down The Laughter" and "You Wouldn't Have to Ask" where the vocals jump up all the sudden.
I really felt misled by having heard 'wouldn't have to ask' and 'please move' because both those songs sound nothing like the rest of the album. I love these guys, and i'm sure they're nice as posted above, but i just really am not feelin this album right now.