REVIEW: Bad Luck – ‘Cold Bones’

Cold Bones

Artist: Bad Luck
Album: Cold Bones
Label: Tragic Hero Records
Genre: Pop-Punk / Emo

Just as metal is all about brutality and anger, a majority of pop-punk hinges its existence on energetic chorus-lines and nostalgia, which are exactly what Bad Luck are (generously) pouring out on their Tragic Hero debut, Cold Bones. That’s not merely just hinted at on the cover art for the album – it’s practically the message of it. I don’t think there’s any more blatant and comedic way to symbolize this concept of looking back on the past than using a photo of a toddler flipping the bird, and while this Daytona Beach-based outfit aren’t known for being the biggest clowns, their straightforward approach to songwriting is top notch.

It would be surprising to hear of anybody whose ever given this group even the slightest of attention before and haven’t mentally connected their sound to the likes of some New York-based artists like Taking Back Sunday, Bayside, and I Am the Avalanche. Coincidentally, IATA’s Brett Romnes happened to produce the album. Lyrically, a notable chunk of the record (especially it’s closing title track) consists of vocalist Dominick Fox reflecting on his past life in Long Island, NY and crooning about making a return.

Bad Luck have done a great job at getting their act together to prove that they’re much more than just another emo/pop-punk crossover band on this debut release. Fox’s vocals are just as gritty as much as they are soulful, and instead of those two techniques working against each other in some contradictory kind of way, its more complementary. The layering of piano and keys helps give Cold Bones a new life, which it rightfully needs seeing as how it’s technically a re-release of an album that was self-released in October of 2013.

The real magic of the record is it’s spot-on balance of sonic dynamism and reliance on pop-music structures. Even on the record’s short and fast songs like “Map Reader (A Monthly Conversation),” Bad Luck still find a way to toss in some way to break up a track’s pacing. An almost necessary evil to making an incredibly catchy record is using plenty of cliche conventions such as the “la-da-da’s” on the album’s acoustic track, “Lantern Park,” but they find their own way to make it seemingly fresh.

From the start of “Willoughby” to the closing lines of the title track, Cold Bones proves itself to be a very heartfelt, honest, and inescapable record. I dare you to give this record a front to back listen and not walk away with one melody or line lingering in the back of your head for the rest of your day. If this upcoming band is capable of using 2-3 year old songs to crank out a debut that sounds as well as this, who even knows what’s to come for Bad Luck.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Adrian Garza (follow him on Twitter)

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