One of the perks of writing music reviews is being able to be exposed to artists outside the norm of what one may be exposed to otherwise. As much as I dig today’s pop music, nothing beats the best of the best indie artists around. The new 4-track EP from returning artist Bad Bubble, the creatively abstract art pop collection "A Requiem", should serve as the latest example of why this is indeed the case.
Readers of this blog should recall Bad Bubble’s “Clover Mess”, an excellent ethereal pop single that right now stands up with the ten best songs I’ve heard this year so far. Can this EP live up to the previous song, which is admittedly a difficult challenge? In a word, yes. These 4 songs will definitely whet one’s appetite for his next full-length release, especially if you’re looking for something that is slightly left-of-center with great beats.
First off, we have the opening track “Federal Fish”, which sets the tone immediately of what to expect…. skittery beats, unusual chord progressions, and ethereal vocals. Bubble’s vocals sound like Kevin Cronin mixed with Neil Tennant, in the best possible way. The synth solo is freaking amazing, and that is a great title.
Next up, we have “Fog Face” (another great title), which continues along the same path, albeit with more of a mid-tempo here. The instrumentation here is quite creative; it may be synth-based, but there’s almost an “electrical” vibe here…listen and you’ll understand immediately. Vocals weave in and out among the elements like a summer breeze and is all the better for it.
Following that treasure is “Liquid 24”, which based on the opening might fool an unexpected listener into thinking a trap-type song somehow made its way here. Thankfully, that is not the case, as it sounds like a mixture of the previous two songs… except this time we have more of a dark, foreboding tone, both in the vocal delivery and the production. That held-out vocal around the 2-minute mark (with a fiery guitar line in the background) just might be my favorite moment on here.
We wrap things up with the closer, “This Is For Sicily”, which perfectly builds on the previous three tracks but adds rather complex harmony vocals to the mix. For lovers of “Clover Mess”, this will be right up your alley. The way things slowed down for the last minute was a nice touch, as it helped this song stand out a bit and wrap things up on a high note.
All in all, this is a wonderful EP that checks all the boxes while flowing seamlessly as a whole, and fans of previous Bad Bubble releases will love this (I know I did). A Requiem hits the perfect sweet spot between atmospheric art pop and more esoteric controlled chaos. The closest comparison would be the classic Roxy Music album, Avalon, as there is a level of sophisticated sheen here that is rarely found anywhere else. Highly recommended!
Listen to "A Requiem" on Spotify here -
You can check out Bad Bubble’s website here: