Bad Reed are a four piece outfit from Brantford, Ontario who are challenging themselves in their self-titled EP after the ashes of their other projects had failed to bring you a brand of music that channels a multitude of other influences into mere folds of more passion.
Consisting of Costa Chatis on percussion, Austin Sharpe on bass, Sydney Sollazzo on vocals and keyboards, and Graham Walker on guitars, Bad Reed just doesn’t just hail from small towns while owning a garage sound that isn’t your run of the mill grunge. They come from diverse backgrounds and their members’ varying tastes in music add texture and tenure to the experiences that may come ladled onto listeners. Likening themselves to some modern acts like, Alt-J, Hozier, Jack White, and The Black Keys to Snarky Puppy, The Mars Volta, and Esperanza Spalding, Bad Reed shows through their marching musical influences and emerging with direct enthusiasm in forging new musical alliances that they are coalescing with music’s historical derivative to bring to you a sound that is both coyly another force to be reckoned with.
Bad Reed’s self-titled EP consists of three songs. Though it is a set unit short of an actual album, Bad Reed has given us some substantial songs to judge the relative new original band on its merit. Having formed in March 2015, they are currently playing a circuit of festivals, touring, and trying to get more airtime on more radio stations in 2016.
“Slackjaw Romance” is a collective of what Bad Reed is all about, which is about starting over, about the raw beginnings and just fighting the odds. With a bluesy, alternative and country style, “Slackjaw Romance” connects with just a reminisce of an all-out ballsy ballad. With the twangy of guitar riffs and the sound of synths running underneath the gamut of the track, the vocals come across as strong and reassured. “All I want is a pack of cigarettes/And a bottle to knock back” is the kind of direct direction Bad Reed is taking the time to write and produce their lyrics into the dreamy and gauzy vocalized production with the attention they are giving it.
“Cassava” is a track that has influences of reggae and 90s rock in it. Above and beyond all a dark song, the track is slower and breaks into a rougher trajectory than the dreamy gauze mentioned in the prior track. Sydney Sollazzo’s vocals will remind listeners, especially here, of other powerful front woman vocalists like Amy Lee from Evanescence and Paramore’s Hayley Williams.
The last track to the EP, “Punch It”, flies also as a metal driven song. With darker connotations running the terrain of the track, the bass holds as a mental barrier to the other more arbitrary sounds.
With a blend of progressive and bluesy alternative, these rockers prove that new beginnings can be awe defining. These definitely different tracks can draw a close conclusion to what Bad Reed’s all aspiring potential may be. Their heavy layering of influences and inspiration streaming from music history carefully defines them as carrying a unique sound. And with so many other bands to contest with, these Canadian true blue rockers are rocking with their own style and unique voice, giving them a deservedly, 7.5/10.