Bad City – Welcome To The Wasteland (2010)

Posted: June 2, 2011 in Music

Last August, Chicago natives Bad City released their debut album “Welcome to the Wasteland.” I gave it a listen back then, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, The Social Nutwork hadn’t been hatched yet. With the hundreds of albums I’ve listened to since then, I honestly forgot all about this release. Thanks to my constant scouring of the internet for music scene buzz, I read today that this album is picking up a little steam – so it was time to scroll through the playlists and give this album the treatment once and for all.

Bad City derived their name from their experiences writing and recording the album in an unfavorable neighborhood in the west side of Chicago. Explained in an interview, “We were chased by gangs, constantly harassed by the dead-looking street people, even the kids out there are nasty. Don’t get me wrong, I love the city, but it is a bad city.”

While many “new” bands to the glam/arena rock scene are usually anchored by a veteran of some former band from the 80s and 90s, Bad City consists entirely of newcomers to the scene. Frontman Josh Caddy, drummer Kevin Kane, guitarists Max Perenchio & Tom Schleiter, and bassist Jake Serek mix an eclectic combination of various rock genres into ten tracks of rock euphoria. It’s a sound that echoes the grandeur of Queen, Kiss, and Def Leppard, mixed in with the roughness of Motley Crue, Skid Row, and Faster Pussycat, then finished off with a subtle punk/alternative vibe that would make Iggy Pop proud. If it sounds like “something-for-everyone” rock, that’s exactly what it is.

When it wants to be loud, it’s loud as hell. When it wants to be pretty, it’s absolutely pristine. When it wants you to sing along, you can’t help yourself. The combination of so many styles leads to the easy references of bands from the past – and Bad City has received a bit of critical negativity for the “melting-pot” approach to the album. But for me, that’s what makes the album so damn good. By not being locked down as a “glam metal” band, or shuffled in with the rest of the “modern alternative” acts going today, the band has the unique opportunity of just writing and singing about whatever they want. The result is an energetic, refreshing album that has the listener really feeling the effort the band put in to making it.

Is it perfect? Of course not. That would be far too lofty of an expectation for a bunch of rookies trying to revive a sound that has been pretty dead for the last ten years. What it is, though, is an inspired album that is filled with the blood, sweat and tears of five guys that just want to rock. And while it may not be “perfect,” it has gotten the attention of some pretty big names. Billy Corgan was the first to come forward, corralling the group for opening slots on last fall’s Smashing Pumpkins Tour. Next in line was Kiss frontman Paul Stanley – who was told of the band’s track “Call Paul Stanley” and immediately put his stamp of approval on the band, calling the album “an absolute knockout and the best album I’ve heard in ages. A killer, cohesive album of great rock and bombastic production that has been sorely missing. Every track is a winner and Bad City raises the bar out of most band’s reach. It’s really that good”. Not a bad endorsement from rock’s ultimate showman.

The early months of 2011 brought on an opening stint for former Guns and Roses guitarist Slash on his solo tour, and while the band is currently taking a break from the road, I’m sure the wheels are continuing to turn and the fire is still burning strong. I fully anticipate hearing more from these Chicago rockers, as Welcome To The Wasteland – in all it’s glory – is undoubtedly just the appetizer to a meal that will be rocking us for years to come.

8/10

Tracklist:
01. Showdown In Central Park
02. Take Me For A Ride
03. Do You Believe In Rock N Roll
04. Wildlife
05. Fire In The Pouring Rain
06. Call Paul Stanley
07. Heatwave
08. Look Out!
09. Touch
10. Straight To The Grave

http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-To-The-Wasteland-Explicit/dp/B003Z2O94S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307039771&sr=8-1

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link

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