I haven’t felt like writing the last few weeks since the death of Chester Bennington, or listening to any new music. I’ve virtually done nothing in terms of listening but blasted Linkin Park’s discography on endless repeat for over a fortnight. Slowly, my desire to listen to other things has been returning, and that is partly done to the excellent Live & Learn by Bad Sign.
Live & Learn is an album that is very difficult to pigeonhole to a category or sub-genre, which generally is a good thing, but can make it quite difficult to describe for the reader if they can’t listen at the same time as reading. There are elements of alt-rock, post-hardcore, straight up metal and post-rock / shoegaze at work here, all melded into something quite wonderful by the trio of Bad Sign. The melodies and soundscapes completely belie the fact that there are only three members of the band; Songs such as Intermission sound as if there could easily be at least two more members playing.
One of the many great things about Live & Learn is its ability to trigger different emotions and feelings in the listener throughout. Certain songs like Covenant and Attrition which lie at the heavier end of the Bad Sign musical spectrum can be enjoyed for their riffs and headbang-inducing qualities. Meanwhile, others such as October and the closing track Paramnesia are more introspective and might take the listener a few goes to connect with, but when the penny drops, it’ll drop in a big way. In terms of the individual members of Bad Sign on Live & Learn, Joe Appleford’s voice has a wonderfully addictive, almost hypnotic quality throughout, with some memorable basslines thrown into the mix for good measure. Kevin Miller is a machine on the drums, and Jonathan Harris serves up riffs by the tanker full.
In a year where so much British talent has come to the fore in heavy music, I have no hesitation in placing Bad Sign in the very top tier alongside the likes of While She Sleeps and Creeper. There’s not a single bad track on Live & Learn. It’s an album that deserves to be listened to in full, each track’s individual nuances appreciated. Based on this, a lot more people should be hearing from this Croydon trio throughout the rest of 2017 and beyond.
Bad Sign’s Live & Learn is out now on Basick Records.