For any band, the first album is all about setting your agenda and tone; how you want to be perceived. The Bad Ones by Blonds is one of those albums; an ambitious debut, interesting and quirky both in content and musicianship.
Heartstring, the album opener, is laden with soulful instrumentation and oozes doleful lyrics that instantly grab your attention. Follow up track Amen is gorgeous with heartbreak and stoicism; postulating poetic refrains about Motown and love. Early on it stands out as a song that betrays the age of the duo in its emotional intelligence. Meanwhile, Gospel Kid throws a much needed curveball on the album, with Jordy Asher taking lead vocals. It provides a break from the sameness which threatens to make the album seem monotonous.
Nevertheless the album has an overall feeling of self-indulgence which poses as a double edged sword. It is admiral that Blonds have not made a cookie cutter commercial album which you often get with a debut. However, what they have done is produce an album which is very low energy. This would be an excellent album to chill out to but with an eleven track album this calm vibe can end up feeling a little bit too samey.
Thankfully, following Gospel Kid the album finally shifts into something a bit more upbeat and whilst Magic is of the same ilk of the preceding tracks it gives the tempo a much needed lift. Saving their most upbeat track (Locomotion) for the final place on the album, just when the record should be winding down we get the knockout punch track, but sadly, this pace change comes far too late on the album.
Overall, this is a great debut but a different arrangement of tracks could have helped create a variety of light and shade, drawing the listener in more rapidly and creating a more long lasting effect. Nevertheless what it lacks in the line up of tracks is forgiven by the aspiration it boasts.