Bad People have recently released their newest album, ‘You’re This Close.’ Based out of Saint John, NB, the 7-piece folk/country band has been slowly evolving since it began putting out music in 2013, including a studio album, an EP, and a live album. In its current incarnation, Bad People features a mixture of strings, acoustic guitar, banjo, and vocal harmonies.
With tales of heartbreak, murdered spouses, and a serial killer all sung in a wavering twang over haunting string melodies, ‘You’re This Close’ is a perfect encapsulation of Bad People‘s dark folk aesthetic. While roughly half of the tracks had properly debuted on 2015’s ‘Live at Bourbon Quarter,’ ‘You’re This Close’ offers versions of the tracks more refined by both time and the recording studio, as well as quite a few new additions which are well worth a listen.
Bad People set a sinister tone right from the get-go, opening with ‘Dirty Rags’, an upbeat song with unsettling, droning lyrics about stalking and attempted kidnapping of a young woman. These dark themes continue throughout the bulk of the album, as the following track, ‘Defenestration’ shows by telling the tale of a man killing his adulterous lover and the man she was cheating on him with, all accompanied by a toe-tapping beat and spirited violin. ‘Your Skin’ follows in this exact vein as well, as a catchy, string-driven piece about obsession and dark intentions in a relationship, made more unsettling by off-tune cello in the background, running counter to otherwise bright melody with enough subtlety to give the feeling that something’s implacably wrong.
Other highlights from the album include ‘Saddle Up Son’, a western-inspired story song of a father/son bounty hunter team traversing the old west for fame and fortune, continuing a cycle of violence and revenge. ‘Out To Sea’ stands out as one of the album’s most enjoyable songs; an intensive, slow-paced track that lays out the intent to kill in such exacting detail over its seven minute playtime that listeners may feel personally victimized by its end. ‘Back to Jubilee’ is perhaps the albums strongest track, fast-paced with a catchy chorus, infectious rhythm, and sorrowful harmonies, all telling a tale of mining accidents, lost love, and ghost trains.
Packed full of sinister charm and catchy melodies, missing out on ‘You’re This Close’ would be a tragic mistake. Bad People have brought their full talent to bear on this album, and the effort and skill required for so many well-constructed arrangements clearly shows. With a solid runtime filled with amazing songs, ‘You’re This Close’ has set our hopes high for whatever Bad People will throw at us next.