Blonds' "The Bad Ones"

Blonds' "The Bad Ones"

  • Article by: Jon O'Brien
  • Posted: 08/07/2012

If Quentin Tarantino is still stuck for inspiration for the soundtrack to his upcoming Django Unchained western, then he could do worse than check out The Bad Ones (8/7/12, Gluck Music), the debut album from Brooklyn duo Cari Rae and Jordy Asher, aka Blonds.

Drenched in the kind of shimmering Americana that Tarantino films have become synonymous with, Blonds’ blend of atmospheric guitar twangs and ‘60s noir-pop melodies with emphatic trip-hop beats and flourishes of electronica is certainly worthy of gracing the big screen. 

A hugely cinematic affair, the Pulp Fiction director isn’t the only filmic point of reference. The languid dreamy blues of “If Only” and the gorgeous opener “Heartstrings,” a slightly sinister pastiche of Etta James’ “At Last,” would both have comfortably fit onto one of David Lynch’s mind-benders, while the inspired “Amen” interrupts its authentic Spector-esque Wall of Sound with a breakdown reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock score as remixed by The Avalanches. 

It’s the latter’s sense of invention which prevents The Bad Ones from becoming purely a retread of America’s early rock ‘n’ roll halcyon days. “Mr. E” mines a similar retro girl group vibe before unleashing a flurry of squalling guitars which are more shoegaze than shoo-wop. “Falling” sees Rae’s Chrissie Hynde-ish vocals and bittersweet harmonies come to the forefront against a backdrop of lilting tropical riffs and skittering beats. The creeping psychedelia of “Gospel Kid,” the gothic pop of “Run” and the gutsy garage rock of closer “Locomotion” prove they’re just as compelling when they venture into heavier territory. 

If Lana Del Rey thought she had the monopoly on nostalgic femme fatale pop, The Bad Ones should make her think again.

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