Bad Hangin’ Out
Bad Hangin’ Out
(2009, Calypso Hum)
RIYL = Black Dice, Tim Hecker, Hew Mun, Tonstartssbandht
We review a lot of weird stuff here on Forest Gospel, so it takes something extra special/demented to catch us off guard and make us stumble over ourselves trying to figure out just what to make of a particular album. Bad Hangin’ Out has made one of those albums. On my first listen to the Bad Hangin' Out I was positively thrown off balance. I just kept thinking, “What is this? Where is this going?” Subsequent listens did nothing to restore that balance, but did much in revealing the sick/lovely thread of brilliance that holds Bad Hangin’ Out together as a wondrously peculiar gem. As you may have noticed by the bizarre lineup I conjured in the RIYL section, there is a lot going on here that's hard to pin down to one source. That being said, the album isn’t patchy at all. There is definitely a unifying momentum to each track whether it is lurking in the moody, intermittent drones, surfacing in the mud drenched field samples or raining down on the consistently muddled vocals. In fact, Bad Hangin’ Out debut is best digested as a complete document. The album’s 16 tracks morph and flow into one another, often shifting into a new pitch or vocal melody just as your beginning to grasp the previous one. You won’t want to hold out any expectations for easily digestible pop songs to emerge from the swamp muck either. While Bad Hangin’ Out certainly takes a stab at pop nuggets here and there, they’re always buried in a river of distortion which is part of why this is so terrific. One thing Bad Hangin’ Out isn’t is a member of the current strain of lo-fi pop/punk. These songs take on a much lazier, meandering feel that is equal parts sticky and slippery. I know, I know, a lot of what I am describing doesn’t really make proper sense. Well, that’s probably because Bad Hangin’ Out doesn’t really make proper sense. But within that nonsense context, this album is surprisingly awesome and refreshingly unique. Amongst the electronic din, probably the only instrument that I feel qualified to identify is the occasional guitar. Bad Hangin’ Out has moments of electric blues and acoustic finger plucking, but always in the guise of the Bad Hangin’ Out sound. Man, there is just so much here! Bad Hangin’ Out demands repeat listens and rewards plentifully with layers and layers of delightful goodness. It’s a deep well worth the drop all the way to the bottom. I think that there is a good chance I’ll be reminding you of this album come December.
Bad Hangin' Out on MySpace