Album Reviews

Bad Books III Punk Rock Theory
Sunday, June 23, 2019 - 11:42
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- by Tom Dumarey

On their first collaborative album under the Bad Books moniker in seven years, singer-songwriter Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull make sure you immediately know ‘III’ was well worth the wait with Devine’s lush and full-sounding opener ‘Wheel Well’ and Hull’s exercise in restraint that is ‘UFO’.

Both of them contribute five songs to the album, with Devine’s songs being upbeat and traditionally sculpted with verses and choruses firmly in place while Hull’s cuts are moody affairs with nerves exposed.

In spite of those different approaches to songwriting, the album feels cohesive thanks to the duo’s knack for harmonies and arrangements. When their voices join forces, they sound downright beautiful and while the songs at heart are acoustic compositions with folky proclivities, they sound like much more thanks to dramatic piano and keyboard embellishments.

Sombre and kind of gloomy in‘Lake House’, putting a little spring in your step the next in the Elliott Smith-like‘Supposed To Be’, ‘III’ is one moodshifting album that never disappoints.


Track listing:

  1. Wheel Well
  2. UFO
  3. Myths Made Plain
  4. Lake House
  5. I Love You, I’m Sorry, Please Help Me, Thank You
  6. The Neighborhood
  7. I Wrote It Down For You
  8. Left Your Body
  9. Supposed To Be
  10. Army
Tom Dumarey
Tom Dumarey

Lacking the talent to actually play in a band, Tom decided he would write about bands instead. Turns out his writing skills are mediocre at best as well.