Album Review – The Bad Flowers – Starting Gun

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Photo courtesy of Mark Varney

 

***Information taken from press release***

Midlands based hard rock band, The Bad Flowers, are set to release their debut studio album Starting Gun on Friday 16th February 2018. The album is a follow up to 2016’s self-titled EP and shows the great progression of song writing and musicianship of The Bad Flowers over the past two years. The band will play an exclusive album launch show at the Birmingham Asylum 2 on Saturday 17th February 2018, playing all the songs from the new album plus more surprises. To dovetail the release of the debut album, The Bad Flowers will be special guests on Stone Broken’s nationwide 12 date UK tour that starts on Thursday 22nd of February at The Haunt Brighton. The tour also includes an appearance at Planet Rock’s Winters End Festival.

Following the September release of their recent single Thunder Child, The Bad Flowers we’re named as one of Planet Rock Radio’s “Ones To Watch”. Thunder Child, the first single taken from the Starting Gun, gained heavy airplay and was described by the station as “pure, dynamic, riff-heavy rock ‘n’ roll delivered with passion and prowess.”

Starting Gun was recorded at Vigo Studios, near the band’s hometown of Cannock. The band chose this studio because they wanted to make a record that sounded like their roots and had the chance to work with long-time friend of the band and producer Adam Beddow, who has recently helped produce Diamond Head’s most current work.

The members of The Bad Flowers reflect on what the new album means to them:

Tom Leighton – Vocals & Guitar

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography

The whole process of recording this album has been a huge labour of love, it’s come at the right time in our progression, we originally wanted to record an album two years ago but shelved the idea at that point, and I glad we did! The last two years have seen us play some shows with some amazing artists and we’ve all been though some ups and downs as everybody does, but it think it’s helped us to write some of our best songs. There’s all out songs with monster riffs and big chorus’ down to a song with just one acoustic guitar and vocals and plenty in between, I think this album will show that we have more than one trick up our sleeve and I’m really excited for people to hear what we have made. We plan on hitting the road as hard as possible in 2018 to get this music into everyone’s ears, we have a full UK tour the week after the album comes out, and a few festival appearances already in the diary and plenty more things in the pipeline!

Dale Tonks – Bass

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography

Recording the album and getting to the point where it ready to be unleashed to the world is an exciting, yet scary, thing to try and grasp. To me it’s like a time stamp on everything we have done up to now, how the band, sound, style and us as musicians have developed. It’s also been one hell of a ride in the making. It’s been hours in the practice room and studio slugging away and sometimes giving each other a constructive kick up the backside trying to better ourselves and mold the songs into what we want them. We never wanted to over complicate the songs or lose the meaning and passion that has gone into them. We’ve put everything into every single track. It’s been such a rollercoaster of emotions that I know we have all gone through at points, but when I’ve listen back to the tracks I think, man, we make some damn good noise together, that’s not me being big headed but I just love it and love playing these songs with what are now my brothers, I just can’t wait for others to be able to hear them and hopefully enjoy and get their groove on as much as I do.

Karl Selickis – Drums

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Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography

It’s been a year-long process with the writing and recording process that’s resulted into the Starting Gun album. We’ve all encountered many different emotions. There’s been highs, and a lot of lows, but as an end product I can happily say without being too cliché, that I’ve never been happier. Starting Gun shows our raw talent enthusiasm and professional attitude to our craft.

The album itself I think shows true dedication to a new generation rock revival. True to our word and influences! Not apply has it had us work our knuckles the bare bone it has made us tighter as a unit as friends and as a family! I am truly proud to call this our debut album and hope that everyone else feels the way we do come February 16th.


TheBadFlowers_AlbumLaunchShow-hrThe Bad Flowers – Starting Gun

Album Tracklisting

1. Thunder Child (3:59)
2. Lions Blood (3:49)
3. Secrets (3:44)
4. Rich Man (3:14)
5. I Hope (3:24)
6. Let’’s Misbehave (5:40)
7. Who Needs A Soul (3:17)
8. Be Your Man (2:56)
9. Hurricane (3:44)
10. I Don’t Believe It (3:16)
11. City Lights (4:44)

Produced by Adam Beddow and Tom Leighton
Recorded and engineered by Adam Beddow at Vigo Studios
Mastered by Fabian Tormin at Plätlin Mastering, Hamburg, Germany


 

Full review by Dave Briggs and Deb Gardner of The Rock Asylum

So, before getting into the review of this Black Country trio’s debut album a little history of how we came to find them in the first place. We had visited a number of charity gigs across the West Midlands during 2017 and, although we had heard good things about them, we always found ourselves in a different room watching other notable bands whilst they were doing their set. We kept saying that we needed to catch their

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performance. That opportunity came about in October 2017. After booking to see The Picturebooks at The Flapper in Birmingham we were delighted to discover that The Bad Flowers were supporting them. Up until that point I’m ashamed to say that we hadn’t heard any of their tracks properly. That said I was thoroughly looking forward to witnessing them live (and as it turns out, up close too). The set they delivered was awesome. (If The Picturebooks had decided not to play I’d have still been over the moon with the night.) I can honestly say that I was a fan before they’d finished their first track.
We got a second opportunity to see them headlining at The Giffard Arms at the beginning of December 2017. Another blistering performance which cemented our firm appreciation of this faultless trio. Having been featured on Planet Rock and receiving thoroughly deserved rave reviews this was their final gig of 2017. I have to say they  appeared to genuinely enjoy performing and treated the assembly of fans to an early Christmas present. They received thunderous appreciation from the crowd and quite bloody right too. Easily one of the best gigs of 2017, hands down.

On to 2018 and with the upcoming album release is looming over us, I thought I’d chance it and message Tom to see if there was any chance of the little old Rock Asylum reviewing the album. “Yeah, no problem, get in touch with our PR and they’ll send you a copy”, was his reply. Feckin’ awesome, I couldn’t wait. Now, I wanted to do this review, and the lads, justice, so was taking my time to soak in the awesomeness of the albums contents. Meanwhile, I was considering a relaxing Saturday night in front of the TV (knowing that I was up at 6am the following day) when I noticed a Facebook post from Tom stating that they were doing a gig at the Stumble Inn, Cannock. Just up the road. And to put just a little bit more icing on the cake it was free!!!! I couldn’t believe my luck. So off we went. Needless to say we were presented with another incredible performance. These guys always give 100%, without exception and they never show any hint of arrogance. They are totally down to earth, chilled and grounded. Considering their successes last year you would be able to excuse it if there was a hint of cockiness, but no, not in the slightest. Makes you like them even more.

Right then, onto the review of the album, ‘Starting Gun’.

The opening song is Thunder Child. As the title suggests it’s a thundering track. This is everything that we could expect from the lads – great lyrics and excellent composition. The exclusive sound of Toms voice sets this track up to be a blinder, but when coupled with the top notch guitar work, powerful, incomparable drumming, and hefty bass lines this track jumps out and demands your attention.

Lions Blood is another thumping rendition which clearly displays Karl’s blistering ability on the tubs. The musical prowess is further emphasised by Tom’s incredible guitar work, neatly blended together with Dale’s faultless bass lines. Tom has a voice that you hope you will never stop hearing. Secrets delivers another welcome dose of The Bad Flowers signature sound. It is peppered with amazing guitar work and superb lyrics, perfectly delivered with those unmistakable vocals. That chunky riff that’s present throughout the track is insane, not to mention some of the clever guitar motifs displayed which bring power to the track. The drumming from Karl puts him out there with the best, this man could have his own show with the amazing talent he possesses. Rich Man has an evocative opening from Tom and his guitar. The song builds slowly as the story unfolds, then you get that massive slap to the face when those piercing vocals take their place. This track takes the opportunity to exhibit the immense qualities of this great band, giving something a little different to what we’re used to, and it really works. This is a stomping track that you will not be able to switch off once you’ve heard it.  The last part of the track is just a massive showcase of immense vocals, intricate guitar, incessant drumming, and massive bass lines, an absolute showstopper. I Hope is an acoustic track that really showcases Tom’s lyrical expertise. The story relayed will likely strike a personal cord with many a listener with its sentiment. Let’s Misbehave starts off with an almost eerie calmness and has you wondering when the power will kick in. Tom dishes out another masterclass in lyrical proficiency whilst the intensity of the track builds. Then you’re taken on a rollercoaster of pace, this song is packed solid with intensity and power, and delivered seamlessly and effortlessly by every member of the band at one point or another. It’s definitely a significant number on this stellar album. Who Needs a Soul is another signature Bad Flowers production. With its groovy bass lines, the lads have found the perfect recipe to create brilliance once again. This is a really strong member of the collection and, not that it’s needed, proves why these guys are destined for much bigger things. Be Your Man has a great blues rock tone to it that will certainly get you going, and an explosive drum display towards the end, coupled with powerful vocals. Yet another cleverly written and exceptionally performed track. This is as good as blues rock gets.  Hurricane is another dose of brilliance with Tom and the boys building it up then slowing it down a little before catapulting you back into the thick of it. We’re treated to yet another slice of stunning guitar work during this track.

I Don’t Believe is a seductively heavy, blues rock number that jumps pace frequently and hooks you from the beginning. Once again, the astounding musical prowess of each member is thrown open for all to witness.  City Lights was previously released on EP, but is a very worthy edition to this incredible album. This gives a humble story of desire to succeed in life. It’s a fitting final track as I firmly believe that this trio are unequivocally destined for those very bright city lights.

In Summary

As debut albums go you would certainly be hard pushed to find another to stand against this one. I’ve rarely listened to a band where each instrument is clearly evident in every track.  The material is very cleverly composed and the vocals delivered by Tom throughout the album are exquisite. Dale’s base playing is unusually entertaining and solid throughout every number, and Karl’s drumming ability is off the scale. As I said earlier, he is up there with the best in my opinion. To see these guys live is a pleasure to behold and to hear them perform any song at all in a live setting will set the place on fire, without a doubt. They have a huge stage presence that few other bands can match. Extremely charismatic and engaging to say the least. Tom is an exceptional guitarist, while Dale’s passion for what he does is clearly evident. And I have seen very few drummers that can throw down like Karl does. For a three piece band the sound they produce is exemplary.

I urge you to go buy this album, I guarantee you will be blown away. If you have a love for blues laced rock then your music collection should definitely contain Starting Gun!

Rating   star rating

If you like what you’ve heard about The Bad Flowers, why not follow them on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram?

 

 

 

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