Bad Mary – We Could Have Saved the World
EP Review of Bad Mary: We Could Have Saved the World
It’s a rare band that performs real, old school, 1970s New York punk rock as true to the genre’s icons as Bad Mary does while still keeping it fresh and current. Indeed, it’s a rare band of this style that catches my ear the way these Long Islanders do. As such, the comparisons are almost so obvious it’s embarrassing to list them: Blondie, The Ramones. There; I did it.
We Could Have Saved the World is the band’s follow-up to its 2015 EP, Killing Dinosaurs. Lead singer Amanda Mac delivers raw, aggressive, tuneful vocals. The rhythm section of Mike Staub and Bill Mac maintain a frenetic beat. And Dave Henderson lays down rough-hewn, hook-laden guitar. OK, I just described every punk band. The hard part is achieving what Bad Mary does – rocking it better than almost everyone else.
With just six songs on We Could Have Saved the World, I’ll give each a little attention:
First song “Creeper” opens at a blistering pace; there is no warming up on this disc. This may be my favorite song on the album. Aside from some medium-tempo bridges, this tune is full-speed ahead. “Creeper” deftly intermingles a guitar hook, echoing support vocals in spots, and insistent, aggressive lead vocals within a hypnotically enticing rock guitar-driven package.
“Marz Attaqx” keeps the pedal to the metal and the fun/energy quotient on overdrive. Seriously, by the end of song two, an active listener will be completely out of breath.
“Trouble” is the song that most reminds me of Blondie, both vocally and rhythmically. It is a half-step down in pace from the first two, providing a much-needed respite while offering some Debbie Harry-esque squeals that turn into power vocals. If we hadn’t heard Blondie (because we lived in a cave), we might be surprised by the song. Even with the iconic comparison, we are impressed. And I’m particularly fond of the guitar solo here, giving props for melding axework into a raw punk number that would be equally well-placed in a mainstream hard rock song.
“Cloud 9” is almost balladic in its pace, filled with a wall-of-guitar rhythm and rough-edged vocals with climaxing screams toward the end. Plus, there’s a nifty distorted-rock guitar solo in the middle. You’ve probably heard this song structure before, but Bad Mary does it to the nines. (Yes, I had to.)
“Meanwhile” opens with Green Day-ish axework and plows forward with a pulsing rhythm, punctuated by approaching tempo changes that never seem to happen, followed by an abrupt end.
“When You Think of Me” is medium fast-paced compared to some of the others on this disc. The music and vocals pulse, tease that they may be about to head out-of-tune a few times but don’t, and ultimately close with the sort of power chord full-stop that might end a killer set.
I’m exceptionally picky about my classic-style punk rock – I think most of it is poorly done; sloppy but not sloppy-good. Bad Mary’s tempo-changes, climaxes, and attitude are all genuine and by design. As a result, there are now two New York punk bands I’d be willing to see in concert. Next time I’m in the City, I’d be thrilled to stumble into a Bad Mary-Baghdaddios double-bill.
Bad Mary’s website lists three upcoming gigs: Saturday, October 22nd and Punktoberfest! in Bay Shore, NY; Friday, October 28th at The Crooked Rail in East Northport, NY; and Saturday, October 29 at The Grape Room in Philadelphia, PA. Keep checking the upcoming gigs page for additions. I know I’d go to see these guys rock live in a heartbeat.
Pingback: Live Review: Amanda White at ONCE Somerville | Geoff Wilbur's Music Blog