Jack The Radio – Badlands
A bold concept album, Badlands sets the scene for a sci fi western epic in two acts. Ready or not, here we go…
Opening with ‘Bad Man’, the listener finds they are invited into a strange, alternative world ready to be explored. The weirdness is reminiscent of the classic movie Heavy Metal while also oddly Kafkaesque. Where are we? Why are we here? Who are we looking for?
The album’s sound shifts around in an appropriate way, moving between more rootsy americana to psychedelic synth tones. At times things get a little lounge jazz – ‘Ain’t So Bad’ is notably smoky and smooth, and ‘The Takedown’ takes a wander down the woozy rabbit hole, with its chiming guitars and a chorus that is on point.
‘Leaves’ cranks things up a notch once more, with clattering guitars and swirling organs, all stitched together with some beautiful synth wails that have a theremin quality to them.
Badlands is certainly an ambitious concept, sticking close to a clear aesthetic that defines the band very well, while also having the freedom to take risks from time to time and try out some new ideas. Amongst the accessible hooks and choruses there are plenty of moments to find some extra intrigue. If you’re a fan of Americana but also want something that’s going to take you on a crazy journey, then this just might be the album for you.