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BADBADNOTGOOD – BBNG2 Album Review

BADBADNOTGOOD, the jazz/hip-hop breakthrough act, are back with a new album and (mostly) the same sound. Is that really a bad thing, though? Is it stagnant after a studio album, 2 live albums, and a single?

The primary answer that comes to mind here is, “absolutely not.” Even if they HAD been around long enough for their unique style to become stagnant, it would not have happened with this album. Comparing this album to their previous studio work would be akin to comparing a feature-length film with a short flash animation. The previous was good for it’s short bursts of pure enjoyability within each song, whereas, this is a larger endeavor. It retains that sort of short-term accessibility in some songs, but then there are longer, bigger songs that really showcase the musicianship of the group. For example, Bastard / Lemonade is just that- a cover of Bastard and Lemonade- but they tailor it so much to their own vision that it doesn’t even seem like a cover anymore.

BBNG2 even has a post-rock sensibility in some parts. The explosive climax of Flashing Lights, the crescendo of Vices: it all brings to mind the almost cinematic aesthetic of post-rock. The brilliance of these songs really shows on the album, and is nothing short of stunning. (Note that I’m not actually calling them post-rock. I’m merely making a comparison in how the songs are structured. Please put your pitchforks and torches down.)

On the last album, I would have gone as far as to call them a cover band. It was primarily made up of covers of various artists such as Gang Starr (Mass Appeal), Slum Village (Fall in Love), and even of 3 tunes from The Legend of Zelda. That has not changed a bit- James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt, and even My Bloody Valentine are transformed by BBNG. More original material would be a HUGE breath of fresh air. That being said, I literally just had to check every song to see if it was a cover or not. That should say something about the band’s ability to remain unbelievably creative, even when they are, essentially, a cover band.

Actually, I would like to take that back. BBNG is NOT a cover band. They are a remix band. They not only cover songs, but they also make them their own songs. They are able to establish themselves as creative and original while doing this as well. These guys are 3 brilliant musicians, and I respect them for that.

All in all, this release is a great second attempt from the group. They’ve retained the feel of the first album, while simultaneously digging themselves further into the ground in retaining a certain style. And to boot, all of their music is free on their Bandcamp. Here we have three men who are truly in it for the music.

[checklist]

  • Original sound
  • Grown a bit musically
  • Creativity in the face of covers

[/checklist]

[badlist]

  • No original material. But really, that isn’t essential for these guys.

[/badlist]

And so, a near-perfect 4.5/5.

Download their whole disgography for free here at their Bandcamp: http://www.badbadnotgood.bandcamp.com

And don’t forget to like their all-caps, ##based Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/BadBadNotGood/215708555125814

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