Despite what people try to lead you to believe, there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Real success, the type that lasts, is born of many hours and sometimes years dedicated to your craft, refining it to a level that makes it shine but when you still know that you can do more and push yourselves harder.
Bad Touch know this well and have been putting their hearts and souls into their own brand of classic hard rock for a decade now, constantly touring and with three critically acclaimed albums under their belt. With the release of ‘Kiss the Sky’ the band have moved up to a new league entirely.
Full of Southern Rock energy and bluesy grit, the album kicks off with the high tempo, high energy ‘Come A little Closer’ as Stevie Westwood and the boys break out the beers and force you to dance until your feet ache. This is pure rabble-rousing rock ‘n’ roll and features a terrific slide solo from Rob Glendinning, the stunning production from Nick Brine and the band giving a real live feel to proceedings.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZtoCrtW8VE&w=560&h=315]
There’s more swagger in the form of ‘I Get High’ and the huge, joyous groove of ‘Let Go’ is utterly infectious, bass player Michael Bailey and drummer George Drewry powering something that will make you lift up while making you get down. The band seem to pour their all into every track and each one fills the senses, such as the real Gospel element to ‘Strut’ as it lifts the soulful swagger of the song to the heavens, the backing vocals swelling and imbuing a feel of the Southern Mission halls to the Norfolk quintet’s barroom bluster.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYDdt86aMUo&w=560&h=315]
Upon hearing their souped-up cover of Kiki Dee’s ‘I’ve Got the Music in Me’ you wonder if anyone has ever done the real edge of this song as much justice before, Glendinning and fellow six stringer Daniel Seekings seemingly having an absolute blast as they tear things up. With balls well and truly out, this rocks hard and ratchets up the level of excitement for an album that shows just how well the five members are in sync, the hours spent in vans and playing shows up and down the UK and Europe really paying off.
The band get funky with the pounding vibe of ‘Can You Save Me’ before locking into the heads down party mode of the title track as ‘Kiss the Sky’ promises thunderously good times. Once more, Brine has managed to grasp and distill all the visceral energy of the band’s live shows and capture it in the studio, the life practically pouring out of the speakers as the sweat drips from the ceilings as things get wilder and wilder.
After all this excitement the heartfelt and moving ballad ‘See You Again’, written in tribute to the late father of one of the band members, is a salve to the senses. Deeply affecting and sensitively written and performed, you can feel the love and heartbreak that runs through the track and it’s one of the biggest highlights on the release. Piano, strings and acoustic guitar blend as Westwood’s bluesy, bourbon-drenched vocal soars across the music, drawing you in. Joe would have been very proud.
‘Before I Die’ brings back the funk and along with ‘Read All About It’ and Too Much of a Good Thing’ really rock the house, the energy crackling like lightning. Album closer ‘Sun and the Moon’ is a final declaration of intent, throwing in so much Southern blues, rock and soul that it grows into a monster that is unstoppable but also has a huge amount of class and a deft touch, never overwhelming the writing but layering it wonderfully. For those who get the CD and download versions of the album, rather than the rather gorgeous white vinyl edition, there’s an added treat and it’s probably the best thing the band have ever done.
Something About Your Kiss’ doesn’t really fit in with the flow of the rest of ‘Kiss The Sky’ with its elements of more folk tinted blues and a slightly Southern Gothic vibe but it sounds big enough to fill a cathedral and when the guitar solo comes in it takes things to another world entirely.
A genuinely stunning achievement and with this Bad Touch have quite possibly staked their place in rock music history alongside bands like Skynyrd, Free and Zeppelin. They’ve worked hard and come a long way already but with this new release the sky really is the limit. Bands dream of making game changing albums but few have pulled it off so well and so completely as Bad Touch have with ‘Kiss The Sky’.
Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Bad Touch’s new album “Kiss The Sky” is released by Marshall Records on June 19th. Pre-order the album from www.badtouchkissthesky.com