Bad Luck - Cold Bones
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Record Label: Tragic Hero
“Oh, nobody wants me back home. Nobody loves me at all. I will be dying alone.”
Those words are the first things you hear when you press play on Cold Bones, the debut full-length by pop-punk band Bad Luck. It’s a pretty succinct way to summarize the lyrics that follow on the record, dealing with relationships, lost friends, and nostalgia. It sounds like nothing new for a pop-punk band – the same trite, clichéd themes. What makes Bad Luck stand out is their rough, gritty take on the genre.
This is due in very large part to Dominic Fox’s voice. He’s got a gruff, gravelly voice. It immediately reminds me of Vinnie Caruana of I Am the Avalanche and The Movielife (both of whom are pretty fair comparisons for the band, sonically). It’s probably most noticeable on lead single “King of the Ring ’98,” a song with an infectious hook that belies its dark message of suicide. It’s the best example of everything Bad Luck has to offer, from its crunchy intro to that vocally cluttered hook to its downbeat bridge.
Following “King” is “I Wish the World Would End (Every January 10),” which bursts out of the gate with the energy of an early Taking Back Sunday song, and messy trading vocals that drive the comparison home. This kind of cathartic energy is rarely found in this genre anymore – it’s mostly all so streamlined. Songs like “Threat Level Midnight” (yeah, yeah, I know) and “Graphic Novel(s)” aren’t streamlined at all, they’re chaotic and rushed and emotional.
The most left-field track is “Lantern Park,” the token acoustic song. Fox’s voice works surprisingly well in the starker setting, sounding vulnerable rather than vengeful, and he somehow makes “la-da-da”s work at the end of the track. However, somewhere in the song, he drops the line “please fornicate with me,” which pretty much kills all the momentum it had going, since there’s no way to listen to someone earnestly sing that with a straight face. It’s a shame too, because the second half of the song features the best lyrics on the album, easily.
As someone who’s not a huge fan of the current wave of pop-punk, I’m glad to say I honestly enjoy Cold Bones. Bad Luck likely won’t be one of the premier bands in the genre, but with some good luck (you saw that coming. Fuck off), their debut will be recognized as one of the genre’s best, at least this year.