Aotearoa is blessed to have a vibrant and exciting indie music scene at the moment with many new bands coming up through the ranks. One of these is Auckland group Bad Timing whose debut EP Might As Well Be Cabbage is a fun quirky exercise in experimental pop-punk and political rage.
In a press release for a recent gig, Bad Timing, who are made up of Chris Marshall on guitar and vocals, Siobhan Leilani on bass and vocals, Sean Martin-Buss on keyboards, and Chris Townsend on drums described themselves as “a couple of sad white boyz and two non binary alien angels playing loud music about feelings and how much it sucks to live under capitalism.” An outstanding description for a band yes, but this is exactly what plays out across the seven tracks which move between loud raging punk rock and Kinks/Blur-like pop, all with a slight political bent.
The EP kicks off with Human Interference, a punky number with a distorted driving guitar riff. Here we also get the first glimpse of Marshall’s slightly monotone vocals, in fact, he almost speaks the song giving it a very Kiwi-like tone. Marshall is a man who seems to be in every band in Auckland but this is the first time he has really taken centre stage as a vocalist and it is cool to see this side of him.
Next up is the first real sign of what I deem to be a Kinks/Blur influence on the sound of this record in the form of the album’s single Day Job. This track strikes the ultimate balance between soft and loud textures moving between lush pop melodies in the verses and screaming vocals in the choruses.
Complicit is an all-out space punk banger featuring buzzy space synths and shoegaze-like vocals, while the psych-rock of Cabbage sees Marshall exhibit some versatility as a vocalist moving between downtempo post-punkish droning vocals and yet more screaming and yelling.
There is a strong political element at play on this EP and it is on tracks such as Avoca-don’t and 100% Pure that Bad Timing really come out raging against the capitalist system.
Avoca-don’t is a quirky song about the high cost of avocado’s and how this fruit has come to symbolise in many respects the high cost of living in New Zealand. Marshal’s dead-pan vocals drive the song, while there is also a nice soulful verse in the middle section from Leilani.
100% Pure then tackles environmental politics and in particular the myth of New Zealand’s clean green image. A jazz fusion ballad affair with moody synths and a delicate drum backing, on here Marshall shows elements of humour as a lyricist, especially with the delivery of the line “100% pure is bullshit” which rounds out the song with the band screaming in unison almost in a fit of full-on rage.
Might As Well Be Cabbage then concludes with the melodic dreamy pop of Tui which as a song, in many ways acts as the perfect come down after the raw political expression of the previous two tracks.
All up, for a relatively new band, this is a solid first-up project. It is always great to see a band getting political with their song-writing in what can often seem a safe and unchallenging musical scene in terms of political expression, while the way the EP moved quite seamlessly musically between punk and pop elements was very impressive.
Might As Well Be Cabbage is a promising start for a band full of potential to take off if they choose to progress further.
12th April - Auckland @ Whammy Backroom
13th April - Wellington @ Caroline
26th April - Dunedin @ The Cook
27th April - Christchurch @ Lyttleton Records
Join Bad Timing to celebrate the release of their debut EP across NZ!