Bad For Lazarus – 25 EP

Release Date 28/03/2011 (FightMe Records)

Review by Chris Oliver

25 EPBad for Lazarus is a collaboration between ex-members of The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, UNKLE and NIN. Their first release, ahead of a full-length hard-rock offering (due in May) is the 25 EP: a melange of rock-and-roll and 60s East Coast garage which occasionally verges on the psychobilly. The themes have a little of the macabre storytelling of the blues, with a little darkness and a dollop of humour (“I could do with some pussy, if you’ve got any spare”). This gives an air of authenticity and originality to what could easily have sounded very cliché.

‘25’ has a memorable chorus, catchy riff and slightly disturbing lyrics; ‘Jon vs Apocalypse’  is an off-kilter number with cello and muted trumpet that reminds me of David Goo Variety Band and Pocketwatch; ‘Go, Diego, Go’s’ Hammond organ, female backing vox and a nice a-capella illustrate the lengths the band have gone to, to make this sound right. ‘Cozy’ – is reminiscent of John Frusciante and The Eighties Matchbox – even before the noisy drums and distorted tremolo guitars kick in. This is the heaviest 25 EP gets, giving a hint of what’s probably coming in May. ’25 (Old Timer)’ is a remix of the opening track, with the vocals double-tracked and mixed nice and high, with hardly any of the electric guitars and no drums. It sounds like a Blur b-side from the mid 90s.

The whole thing conjures images of the past; everything about the EP harks back to the old approaches to making records, eschewing the clinical approach and the tight, limited, almost artificial sounds which so often come out of modern digital recordings. The vocals are more characterful than they are tight or polished, and post-production is between non-intrusive and minimal – yet not in a calculated way; it feels like it was made in about 3 days when everyone had nothing to do. There are more than a few little imperfections, yet it clearly couldn’t sound much better. All in all, 25 EP is really catchy and really, likeably accessible – which is unlikely to be true of the upcoming album. However, if that is anything like as diverse and whole-hearted, it will be one to watch out for.

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