The best form of rock n’ roll comes with a sense of purity, whether that be in the form of lyricism, music, or something joining the two together, and it’s through this lens that Bad Veins is delivering some of their best work thus far in the new single “Wendy.” If you’re looking for treated vocals, mock harmonies, patchy beats, or sampled elements in this track, you’re going to be disappointed by the organic harmonies and depth of melodicism in “Wendy,” which uses the aforementioned quartet of elements to drive home what could be the most conservative show of rock brawniness I’ve heard all year.
Bad Veins don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to get the job done in this performance, and whether you’ve been following their progress from day one or are just now finding out about their sound through the release of this new song, I think you’re going to find their stylish brand of alternative rock to be as natural and unforced as I do. They aren’t getting caught up in virtuosities, which makes them plenty more alternative than most of their contemporaries could ever ask to be.
This master mix is as slick as anything you would come across in mainstream pop these days, and I would even say that it’s a bit more varnished than it has to be solely to flesh out as much detail within the riffing as possible. There’s a nice tonality to all of the instruments here, and if Bad Veins hadn’t gone with as polished a look in the mix as they did, we would have been robbed of the opportunity to appreciate how much they’re putting into the core componentry of their sound beyond the compositional side of the music.
The biggest muscle in “Wendy” starts and ends with the powerhouse percussion, and even though the vocals wind up wedged in between the drums and the bassline by the second half of the song, it doesn’t prevent the lyrics from matching up with the brooding tone of the guitar parts for anything. This is a well-rounded song, from the way it was arranged to how these players are bringing it into the spotlight.
Thoughtful pop/rock is beginning to make a serious comeback in the American underground at the moment, and it’s almost exclusively because of the moxie that bands like Bad Veins are dedicating to regional scenes like the one in southern Ohio in 2023. The last ten years or so have been brutal on indie music in terms of losing a major connecting point between audiences and artists via the physical format and specifically college radio, but it would appear that Bad Veins has only gotten more immersed in the craft while others have drifted away from their initial aesthetical goals.
“Wendy” is some of the best and most provocative material to make it onto record store shelves so far, but I doubt it’s going to be their creative peak at all; there’s just too much left to do here.
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