The Bads - Travel Light

By Poppy Tohill

Released March 15th, 2013 - Warner Music

New Zealand's most musically talented couple - Brett Adams andDianne Swann have recently been juggling their busy schedules in order to complete and release ‘Travel Light,' their third album as the outstanding duo, The Bads. Brett proving to be one of New Zealand's premiere guitarists, while Dianne has contributed to an extensive amount of recordings and live performances for a number of New Zealand artists, with her exceptional voice. These two together are undoubtedly a true force of nature.

‘Travel Light' has come together beautifully with lyrical and musical references to the adventures they have experienced throughout their musical career. The emotive lyrics throughout the eleven songs that make up this album prove to connect directly to their musical history - breaking into the music industry in the United Kingdom then creating the duo, The Bads once they returned home to New Zealand.

Although ‘Travel Light' is the most heavily rock influenced of all The Bads albums (‘Earth From Space' and ‘So Alive') it flows seamlessly through a range of genres from breezy-country pop to bluegrass and gentle acoustic ballads. The album features all of The Bads regular band mates: Wayne Bell, Dave Kahn, Mike Halland Ben King musically giving each track more of a ‘band sound,' referencing some of their older songs with slight twists and turns.

The first single and meticulous opener of the album, ‘California' is an ode to touring, and to all of The Bads musical friends who have left them. The song is driven along by the smooth vocals of Brett and Dianne intertwined together with alluring polished guitar melodies carrying the fascinating polyphonic texture of the song along effectively.

‘Worried Mind' is a sleek country-blues pop song with Adams' rhythmic guitar verses transitioning into a single slick guitar riff as the coda. Adams is vocally upfront during ‘Don't Forget Yourself' combined with more exceptional guitar work as he merges his smooth vocals with a beautiful folk finger picking style.

Taking over the main vocals with her beautiful voice in the ballads ‘See The Light,' ‘Woken By A Melody,' and the pop-rock song ‘Give Me Some More,' which also contains elements of, Swann's voice backed by the understated guitar work of Adams adds another stunning dimension to this astonishing album.

The more traditional country song, ‘Good Lies,' which is my personal favourite off the album, encompasses classic chord progressions, emotionally engaging vocals and incredibly focused, slick guitar work. If I can't convince you to buy or listen to this album, then I'm sure this song will. The least it can do is get you off your seat, to do a little hoedown dance around the table!

The songs on this album have been strategically ordered with the gentle vocals and longing mood throughout the closing track ‘Wintertime' leaving listeners heart-warmed and longing for more as the emotional violin strikes and the tinkering away of the banjo and xylophone stay swaying around in your head, for minutes after.

Yet another distinctively unique album from New Zealand's most musically talented duo, The Bads. They are also currently on a nationwide tour performing songs from ‘Travel Light'. So I suggest if you love this album and are as much of a fan of these guys as I am... Get along to one of their shows, because they are most certainly one act you do not want to miss. I'll be seeing you there for sure! 

4.5 / 5