Those foolhardy enough to be searching for the missing link between The Last Shadow Puppets and The Shadows will find it in Danish rockers The Good The Bad. Their sophomore effort, imaginatively titled From 018 To 033, grinds with the type of plucky instrumentation that typified the late ’60s AOR sound. The end result is a nostalgically enjoyable listen that slightly outstays its welcome towards the stretch.
From 018 To 033 continues where debut album From 001 to 017 left off (no prizes for guessing the title of their third album). Dirty pentatonic solos and lazy drum beats dominate with the odd vocal thrown in to shake up the vibe. Given most of the tracks posses such similar structures, the lack of a lead vocalist at times works to the album’s detriment. It also induces a teasing – and completely unfulfilled – notion that Alex Turner or Ray Davies will miraculously pop up during a verse to take over singing duties.
Central to the band’s spark is lead guitarist Adam Olsson (also known as ‘The Adam’). When given the opportunity, his solos give The Good The Bad a visceral energy that pushes the group beyond the sum of its three-piece parts. This is exemplified by the Wild West imagery he invokes on tracks such as 019 and 022, both of which would not look out of place during the end credits of a Tarantino production. He wields a similar wistfulness in 028, one of the few tracks to have accompanying vocals for its duration.
The only time the album stalls is when the band deviates from its influences, as evident during the tiresome solos and repetitive chord progressions of 030. Thankfully, the band is quick to refocus and ends dutifully with 033, a sweeping western-inspired epic that climaxes to the withering mourning of a lone organ.
Music aside, most of the attention The Good The Bad has received is due to their risqué accompanying videos. Their most recent clip, A Girl Called 030, shows a near-naked nubile straddling an electric guitar atop an unmade bed. Presently it has racked up over 2.4 million views, consolidating the long-established theory that nude women and instrumentation groups make for a potent marketing plan.
Similarly, there are numerous voice samples of moaning women throughout From 018 To 033. Given the sexual swagger already infused within their sound, the samples become rather redundant and actually serve to unnecessarily shift the focus away from the craftsmanship of the band.
Whether the group continues the instrumentation approach for their next album remains a noteworthy topic. Olsson has been quoted as saying they initially searched for a lead singer but found the “the music spoke for itself”. While they wouldn’t want to sacrifice this point of difference, an able frontman – combined with the talents of Olsson and Co – would make for a tantalising prospect.
As it stands, From 018 To 033 is a fine return for The Good The Bad. Snarling, aggressive and unique, it manages to avoid the sophomore slowdown whilst exhibiting the whims of a band whose talent matches its vision.