‘Welcome To The New School of Surf and Flamenco’ is the subtitle that adorns The Good The Bad’s debut EP, and for geographical reference lovers out there, they hail from Denmark. Not the Wild West as you may be led to believe on this introductory morsel of music. Sounding like the speechless, incestuous spawn of Link Wray and Josh Homme, it kind of sounds something akin to a Tarantino homage as opposed to the level of grandiosity offered on anything involving Ennio Moricone. Having to bear in mind that this may not be a complete detriment to their musical cause, we continue.
‘001' builds from the moaning throat of what you can only imagine to be a sexed up love goddess - a running theme for our boys throughout - into a riff straight out of the ‘Molly’s Chambers’ songbook. To the extent that it’s actually the same riff, just a lot louder and a lot more purposeful, enhancing it into an unknown groove that had obviously been filtered by the Followills' initial effort. ‘002’ maintains the bullet like speed, and wrenching you with blasts of refrain before launching into more of those iconic harmonised licks. With ‘003’ though, an attempt at garage-like psychedila backfires, ending up feeling like a backing track to a piece of karaoke more suited to a KOL baiter like that afro twit from X-Factor. It’s unfortunate as, despite their obvious derivatives, until ‘003’ things felt fresh. Luckily, ‘004’ is the undoubted highlight. Possibly because it has the most memorable guitar lick, argument being that such an avenue of musical foray can only really be remembered with such melodic markers. And it certainly is catchy, reminiscent of ‘Knights of Cydonia’ in a more concentrated form. ‘019’ wraps things up, acutely reminding us all that there is no room for a slow down in pace. This is the Wild West, after all. Oh, wait…
My usual spiel with such rooted-in-tradition music is that it has no benefit to any artistic evolution. But with The Good The Bad, I have to raise my hands before that duality begins. At times, artistic purpose can be forgotten and with this EP it is hard to ignore the fact that the band write great quality rock songs. Seeing them live, as well, gives a new level of connectivity to the flow of each track. The cohesion between the songs isn’t lost live, meaning it’s power is unrelenting and you are free to batter through saloon doors and watch a ruckus ensue without ever feel bored or trapped in some kitsch replication of times gone by.
The main sticking point for The Good The Bad, as a whole and not just for this just short of ten minutes long EP (only one track makes it past the two minute mark) is that they have already confined themselves to a certain sound. Within this ‘new school of Surf and Flamenco’ there is little room for manoeuvre; the waves may only be ridden one way, the flamenco will only ever be a traditional dance and there is only one textbook to read from. Doubtless there’s enough energy on offer here to fuel those aforementioned activities, but this school is a primary school. The energy was always going to be in these kids, all fun and no care for responsibility or education in general, really. Secondary school will, hopefully, be a trying yet successful transition for The Good The Bad and mould them into the men they wish to become.
7William Grant's Score