Album Reviews
Band: Bad Touch

Title: Shake A Leg

Label: Marshall Records

 

Aah, Bad Touch, one of my fave bands over the last few years, well, ever since I saw them at The Cluny in Newcastle as a support act for ... possibly The Union, if my memory serves me well. (No, it was Tyketto!). Since then, I've always seen them when they visit our neck of the wood as they never let you down when it comes to them putting on a show, and they must be good, as my brother-in-law really liked them when they were on with The Kentucky Head Hunters, and he's a Rock 'n Roll fan, 70's/80's Teddy Boy type! (looks like Seasick Steve now!!). Anyway, Bad Touch are now onto their 4th album, 'Shake A Leg', which follows 'Down & Out', Half Way Home', and 'Truth Be Told', which had the smashing Rock Radio fave '99%' gracing the album, and it has to be said, this group from Norfolk just get better the more you hear and see them!

This long player literally explodes into life with the uber-crowd pleaser 'Lift Your Head Up', surely the track to get their audiences stoked up from the off, as it has that type of chorus that'll get everyone on side straight away.  Think Thunder but by a younger bunch of lads (sorry Harry!).  Then the tempo slows a tad as they hit a heavier groove on 'Hammer Falls', where it seems drummer George Drewry is having a ball lacing into his kit, but it's the solo from Rob Glendinning that stands out here as he takes over mid way through this Southern Rock-based thumper.  'Too Many Times' will get the heads and feet a-nodding/stomping with the catchy hook that runs straight like an arrow through the song, it's fist-pumping chorus adding fuel to the fire, and no doubt with all those descriptions I've used, I'd love to be the band looking out at the crowd as they make out like an extra from Beavis and Butthead'!

Now, this one is the one where vocalist Stevie Westwood will no doubt be at his swaggering best, as 'Dressed To Kill' oozes a tongue-in-cheek sassy, bluesy groove that he loves to put out there when singing live, and as the title suggests, he will most likely be dressed to kill when he's got his J.B. shirt flowing around him as he belts out this tune!  Debut single from the album, 'Skyman', pays it's respects to the late great Duane Allman, based round the stuttering, heavy riffage and power-beat of the drums, again that swaggering tempo very evident here, yet as 'I Belong gently caresses it's way in on the slide guitar, you think it's ballad time and ... wrong! Well, not exactly, as this Southern Rocker swells and subsides as it goes along, the band reflecting on where they come from, quite a touching ode to Norfolk if there was any. 

Now, it might be me, but I've got a feeling that the stomper 'Show Me What It Means' could well be hinting at 'the aad in an' oot' malarkey, nicely set amid a 70's Heavy Rock vibe, only to be followed by a slightly funky-rock charger of the same nature called 'Tussle', which can be best explained by the line 'Tussle with a tail that ain't got no sting'!! Who needs 'Sex in the 21st Century' on TV when you got this!!! Dirty boys, dirty boys!

Whooa, check out 'the engine room' on this bugger, 'cos 'Take Me Away has the drums and Michael Bailey's bass crunching away at their very Metallica'd best, the duel guitars for once playing second fiddle (in a good way!), and Stevie's vocals as cocksure as ever, though he does rein it in during the slower, bluesy-tinted Black Crowes-esqued 'Believe In Me', which has a superb solo thrown in for good measure.  There can't be a better way to portray a dead as a door nail relationship and looking for better than what I had moment than a rocking good tune such as 'Movin' On Up', Classic Rock at it's very best and surely a single if there was any other on the album, it's big, beefy sound made for Rock Radio, Stevie definitely not mincing his words as he lets the subject of this song stew as, hopefully it'll be like a stake through the heart when she hears the lyrics! (ahem!).  

The mood becomes that little more tender on the ballad 'Slow Tempest', a minimalistic, semi-acoustic gem that hits all the right notes when you realise what the song is aiming at, and it also boasts some fine harmonies from the band, giving the track a comfy blanket feel to it, yet they up the ante on that with the one take, hairs on the back of your neck, sad but lovely slowburner 'Bury Me (When I'm Gone), Stevie's vocals as exposed and....fragile as I've ever heard them, which only makes this song stand out like a beacon. 

 

With 'Shake A Leg', Bad Touch have proved that as time moves along, they only improve with age and experience, and I am one reviewer who is definitely looking forward to seeing them play at the Newcastle University Union (so is Ritchie!) on 17th October, so bring plenty of t-shirts as the Mrs shrank my other one in the wash! Bah!!

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Lift Your Head Up
2.  Hammer Falls
3.  Too Many Times
4.  Dressed To Kill
5.  Skyman
6.  I Belong
7.  Show Me What It Means
8.  Tussie
9.  Take Me Away
10.  Believe In Me  
11. Movin' On Up 
12. Slow Tempest 
13. Bury Me (When I'm Gone)

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