Good Times, Good Punk Energy from Bad Pilgrim

by delarue

Uh-oh, here comes 90s nostalgia. New Jersey’s Bad Pilgrim have a sound that harks back to the day when there were actually GOOD bands on the Warped tour, and they could have been one of them. Albums like their brand-new, self-titled debut are great for busy early spring days because A) they’re easy to write about and B) they’re just plain fun.

Frontman/guitarist Brett Niederman’s vocals are on the early NOFX tip (i.e. from before that style became a self-parody), his crunchy guitars blending with Dan Finn’s propulsive bass and Carlos Luna’s tight drums. The production values are organic: no dumbass autotune or samples, drums too high in the mix or such, and while it probably was recorded digitally rather than through an analog board, who knows: the sonics are refreshingly oldschool.

The first song is Doin’ Fine, an  irresistibly catchy, simple punk-pop number with a little ska thrown in. “Working all day, rocking all night.” Yeah!  They turn up the reverb on the guitars and the treble on the bass for Emily. You wouldn’t expect a love song to be in a minor key or have such a nasty unhinged bluesy guitar solo. This is a great song and it’s the best one on the album.

Don’t Leave Me Alone is doo wop ska-punk with a bit of a megaphone effect on the vocals. It’s a little silly, a little creepy. The Dickies used to play songs like this. Drinks and Food is pretty straight up 1-4-5 with cool multitracked guitars. Of course they have to follow that one with a ska tune called Drinking – what’s not to like about that!

Lazy is the  poppiest tune here; the final track, Love Letters was a rockabilly song in a past life. Bad Pilgrim are at Trash Bar at 10 PM on April 10 and what you should do is show up early at 8 for open bar on PBRs and wells for an hour.

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