Track by Track is a segment where we interview artists to dig a little deeper and take us inside the tracks of their latest releases. We caught up with the Melbourne garage rock outfit Bad Bangs to dive into their debut album Character Building, out today on Blossom Rot Records.
Following 2018's debut EP and a handful of singles, the Melbourne-based garage rock quartet Bad Bangs finally unveiled their full-length debut Character Building today via Blossom Rot Records. The quintet have been making noise for the past few years, emerging in 2016 and sharing the stage with acts like Cash Savage and the Last Drinks and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Double-headed vocally by Shelby De Fazio and Sophia Lubczenko (Sledgehammer, Sagamore) the two trade-off fuzz-drenched guitar shreds with each other's gritty vocal stylings, while supported by the tightly-wounded rhythm section of bassist Ben Leahy (Quality Used Cars) and drummer Tim Ryles (Foggy Notion). Recorded with John Lee behind the soundboard, the quartet imbue their brand of thrilling and intense garage rock, while finding themselves soaring in new heights that sound refreshing.
Across the nine-track LP, Bad Bangs journey through jagged guitar lines, clattering rhythms and reflective lyricism. On the head-spinning opening track "Find the Sound," the group immediately channel the punk-inflected garage rock they're best known for, blending swirling guitars over a driving beat. "Sweet Thing" is injected with dizzying melodicism with its toppling drum fills and blown out distortion. On the slow-burning "Faces," De Fazio's fearless vocals soar over a dimension of moody guitars and synthesized buzzes. The darting psych-rock tinged "Can't Dance" carries an experimental edge, while the closing track "Here" melds sharp layers of noise with jangly guitars for an infectious knock-out punch.
To dig deeper into the new album, we had the pleasure of catching up with De Fazio, who reflects on the meaning behind each track from the new album.
"Find the Sound"
Shelby De Fazio: The opening track "Find the Sound" challenges notions of authenticity and marketability, questioning overbearing trend obsessions. It's about playing the
game and fitting a mould but losing out along the way.
"Sweet Thing" pays tribute to an inevitable end of a honeymoon phase. Recognizing how easy it is read into things and indulge in your own conclusions, it's a matter of fact observation that sees a respectful end to a relationship held in high regard.
Acknowledging a sense of security and self-certainty found in identifying with a group, "Different" is about re-framing yourself outside of a formative circle and exploring beyond these comfort zones.
"Keepsake" is a narrative around consumerism—the symbolism and meaning that we give to inanimate objects. How we so easily convince ourselves of the things we need over and over, but just as easily disassociate from them once we get rid of them, holding no accountability. We obsess over shallow symbolism and value.
An ode to friendship and falling into new platonic relationships at the right time in your life. At an age where society sets firm standards of fulfillment gained through romantic relationships, "Faces" is an ironic play on a romantic serenade and instead nodding to formative friendships—the kind of rewarding cosmic connections that teaches you as much about yourself as they do about the other person.
"All in All"
"All in All" is about reaching your own idealized conclusions—allowing a warm nostalgia to cloud your view of a present reality. In these situations, letting emotion outweigh logic, it's inevitable to come crumbling down, leaving you questioning at what point did nostalgia transcend your reality.
"Spell" celebrates a sense of reclaimed independence in light of a time of personal compromise. It's about unashamedly reclaiming fresh perspectives, but also admitting a history of vulnerability and complacency.
"Can't Dance" is about allowing your emotions succumb to a problem too big and out of your control. Embracing a sense of hopelessness and feeling unapologetically bratty. When push comes to shove, self-pity is all part of the process to weather the storm, sometimes there's comfort in indulging in that.
"Here" explores a human connection compromised by technology. The irony that communication made too accessible leaves us questioning how genuine our connections can be. Here prods at the smoke and mirrors of a digital age, the impersonal nature of our interactions both a substitution and illusion of a truthful reality.
Character Building is out now via Blossom Rot Records. Purchase the new album here.