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Bad Touch – Shake A Leg

 

Bad Touch – Shake A Leg

I will start this review with a fact, Bad Touch are one of the best live bands the UK has to offer. They have toured every town across this island in search of their dream. It grinds my gears when I think that the band have been on the go for nine years and I still have to introduce people to them.

Last year was the first time they done a headline tour and until that point I had to struggle with them playing short sets and blow every headliner off the stage. The progress has been far too slow in my opinion but maybe “Shake a leg” will change all that as it is an absolute corker and as much as I love every release to date this wipes them all aside.

13 songs that swagger, groove and bop you into southern heaven. It takes that Bad Touch sound and turns it on it’s head. With Bad Touch you will always get the bourbon dripped sound but there is always something new and “Shake a Leg” has a cauldron of new directions for your listening pleasure. Opening track “Lift your Head Up” almost feels like a pop song. If this was released in the 70s it would be massive. The radio friendly guitars mixed with a catchy as hell chorus makes for a brilliant start.

“Hammer Falls” takes us back to more better known climbs. The lazy riffs, the powerful deep south vocals and this is what Bad Touch do so well. The production on this is amazing as the chorus soars and I want to hear this live right now.

“Too Many Times” has a Thunder riffage and the non stop lyrics gives it another edge. Add the sing along and this will also be a beauty live. I am not even going to touch the lyrical content…the boys can deal with that just like they did with the nagging woman. The breakdown is pure Bad Touch as it slows down and focuses on Stevie Westwood’s incredible voice.

On “Dressed to Kill” we dredge out a bit of Lenny Kravitz distorted guitar and we have a Rock’n’Roll classic. A real old time feel to this, a smoky piano bar with blues and jazz screaming out the open doors. It is mixed with modern rocking and brings back the skinny jeans.

The lead single from the album is “Skyman” and it will have your hips swaying and at this point Bad Touch either have to stop releasing albums or start playing a three hour show. They have so many amazing songs I do not want to see any dropped from the set but I want to hear all the new ones as well.

With what must be early morning birds tweeting from the speakers I can imagine the boys going home from a night out and drunkenly saying I love this place. I have heard “I belong” live before so I knew what was coming and how is it nearly every song written about a bands home town/country is always a classic? It is a slow burner and full of love and emotion. I suppose with all the band’s touring coming home must always feel special…just like this song.

Gears are completely switched on “Show Me What It Means” with a Pop/Dixie chant to start it is unusual for the boys but with the guitars and vocals it left me thinking that should not work but it was the song I walked away from after my first listen and found myself singing all day. It gets in your brain and does not let go.

I loved the drums at the start of “Tussle”, the boys have happily covered The Black Crowes before and this has that groove in spades. This would have sat on “Shake Your Moneymaker” with ease and would probably have ended up as my favourite track. This song shines a light on the talent that runs through every member of Bad Touch. As much as you cannot get away from Stevie’s amazing vocals this is a band and each member plays their part in bringing out a fantastic sound and it is why they are so incredible live.

Already this album is a beast but the songs on the closing end of it ramp up massively and “Take Me Away” is just a groove fest. The slow blues guitars are out in “Believe in Me” and once again the band beats the previous song easily. This is Bad Touch’s knack, one amazing track after another and Stevie is singing as if his life depended on it.

“Movin’ on Up” is a pure rocker from the off. As much as I love the bands slower, more soulful tracks they can kick ass with the best in the business and this track is a killer slice of balls out rock. From there we slow it right down with some Acoustic guitar and it instantly reminds me of another one of my favourite bands in The Temperance Movement. A band I have followed from small venues to some of the biggest in Glasgow. This is the journey I suspect Bad Touch will be taking and a song like this will open the band to many a different listener.

The album finished on a bit of a morbid note in “Bury Me” but what a hell of a song. The song is all about Stevie’s voice and their home town again. The band have bowed out on Shake a Leg in style as this song is beautiful. The Lyrics are profound and Norfolk should be using this track for a soundtrack for some tourist adverts as if this cannot drag people there nothing will.

Shake a Leg is another step on the rung to success for this band. I have followed them for four years now and not once have I had any doubt they will make it. They put my faith back into smaller live bands, they dragged me away from the arenas and showed me how much talent is out there.

It is so much tougher for bands to make it these days and when you go and see a band of Bad Touch’s calibre in a small hall it kind of pisses you off as I have seen bands on the biggest stages that do not come close to putting in a performance like these guys. They will make it, I have no doubts about that and this albums quality will shine through and take them to the next level.

Review Ritchie Birnie

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