Although it has been around for a while, North Wales rock four-piece Bad Excuses have only just sent round their EP for reviews. Bursting with character and some truly addictive tracks, it’s hard to see why they kept it hidden from us for so long. Press Start is a wonderfully innovative title for a debut EP and although they have now been gigging together for a couple of years, it’s the perfect introduction to them.
Supporting the likes of Vices and The Promise, every member of the band has played in previous bands and they’ve come together with their respective experience to create the supergroup that is Bad Excuses. Although us mere mortals down south have yet to discover them, they have been playing North Wales gigs for quite some time and building up a loyal fanbase.
The EP begins with The Funky Song, which is so aptly named due to its incredibly funky bassline. The riff sings along with the melody and the drums keep things steady. Some deep rock vocals appear from somewhere and it evolves into a chilled, classic rock number. There are definitely some American influences detected in the slightly retro and relaxed theme. Some folksy, wooden clicks in the backing add some edge and it becomes a very catchy opener.
Moving on to This Is True, starting with a chilled acoustic riff. You get the feeling that not a lot can really phase these guys as they slowly jam their way through the track. It has that authentic southern US twang that I associate with bands like Hootie and the Blowfish and the like. It’s the perfect summer driving song with a catchy chorus to boot, so it’s ideal for cruising down country roads in the twilight.
I Don’t Know is very strong lyrically. Bad Excuses have some really beautiful lyrics on the EP and this one is a true storyteller. Not being sure if you’re with the right person but hoping you are may sound like a pretty sad affair but there is also hope in the track and it’s very optimistic. A blues style is used for this melodic ballad which sees the lead vocals stretch into their higher register, which is appreciated after the first two tracks don’t seem to show off the vocal range so much.
As its title may suggest Cease Hate and Violence is about literally that. It may be seen as a bit of a hippy song but it’s professing a healthy way of living and trying its best to make us see the futile nature of such things. The instruments have a great alternative rock sound and there is a reminder of Iron Maiden within the instrumentals. Sirens and the fuzz of radios can be heard in the background and it creates an atmosphere for the song to slot right into, which is so effective at creating a whole mood.
My favourite track on the EP is Fifth Season. A rolling calm riff begins this beautiful, heartbreaking lament. The vocals hold so much nostalgia and emotion that listening to the track almost brings tears to my eyes. Loss and regret are so prominent and it really isn’t one for the criers amongst us. As the song picks up, it retains the alternative style seen in the previous track but added to it is the raw feelings of sadness and melancholy. It’s a true masterpiece for a brand new band.
Ending on Disorientated, which is another Americana country-rock number. It begins with melodic vocals set to a drum led backing and takes into a track that is much more laid-back. The deep south style vocals return and the song ends on a rather impressive riff giving a final nod to everything that Bad Excuses can do. I also love the air of summer embedded in this track, as it’s perfect for getting lost in.
Press Start is full of songs that will relax and inspire you. Such a huge range of emotions are explored and I love how the cover of the EP with the band members depicted as retro video game characters could suggest that we’re in for an ultra trendy, indie-electronica album. In reality, it’s so down-to-earth and accessible, so it shows you probably shouldn’t trust a record by its cover.