Combining the rhythm-driven presence of classic punk with a complex attention to melody, Bandaid Brigade delivers a truly multifaceted performance on their debut full-length I’m Separate, released on January 21, 2020.
As we find ourselves gesturing socially and politically towards a repeat of the early 2000s, this release provides a necessary opportunity to embrace the type of catharsis that could only be found in the promise of pop-punk. Transcending the expectations of the modern critical attitude towards the genre, this album expresses an obvious blend of the band’s influences, offering emo sensibilities set against an undeniable maturity to the songwriting. Clearly pulling from the spirit of post-punk and new wave exploration, along with the group’s punk roots, I’m Separate sounds more like the work of a band that has well hit their stride than a debut project.
Reaching beyond their comfort zone with tremendous success, I’m Separate has something for everyone.
Formed last year by Denver, CO duo Zach Quinn (PEARS) and Brian Wahlstrom (Scorpios, Gods of Mount Olympus), and joined by Paul Rucker (Armchair Martian, Street Dogs, Drag The River) and Chris Fogal (The Gamits), the group hit the scene to great acclaim with their debut single “Travel Light.” Soon followed Baindaid Brigade’s second release, “Break the Grid,” a 3-minute saga of driven, heartfelt tenacity outlined by an infectious pop-synth hook, generating an explosion of excitement for the drop of the full record. I’m Separate, of which the band cheekily noted: “It’s quite possible that this is the best album ever made,” is certainly worthy of the attention it’s garnered since the release of “Travel Light.”
The first track off the album, “Everything,” slides in with a contagious muted riff, rife with garage rock anticipation, the vocal melody brings it back into a space of nostalgia, guaranteed to throw you back into the angst of your first serious breakup. Don’t be fooled by this, however, the song, and indeed the album as a whole, is not nearly that simple, suddenly breaking into a cascade of deftly composed overdriven lead guitar that perfectly encapsulates the sense of polished intention and attention to detail that allows this release to far transcend expectation.
Lyrically, too, the album offers captivating depth. Some tracks, such as “Attila,” almost spill over with moody, misunderstood loner balladry: “It’s like another place, another time/This planet’s desolate and strange.” Others, however, offer moments of profound poetics, such as the Thom Yorke-esque breathlessness on “Nothing Matters,” which bleeds introspective uncertainty: “It always matters, still wrapping my head around that/I feel so tender and small, fee-fi, fo-fum.”
These riotous rockers brilliantly implement intricate, nearly virtuosic runs of piano and brass, especially on the 8th track on the album, “Holding Light,” demonstrating the way melody on this release is treated with a level of care and precision almost unbelievable for a debut. Without sacrificing the energy of classic, guitar driven punk and screaming overdrive, and clearly reaching beyond their comfort zone with tremendous success, this album has something for everyone.
Thanks to this unabashed sense of emotion, exploration and punk spirit, Bandaid Brigade’s debut full-length I’m Separate is truly a must-listen for indie enthusiasts of all genres, and a jolting inspiration to the cautious and complacent. As the group sets off on their first West Coast tour before an elongated stint in Europe, make sure to look below to see if they’ll be playing near you.
Bandaid Brigade Upcoming Tour Dates:
‘The First Tour’- West Coast
1/9/2020 Santa Cruz // The Crepe Place
1/10/2020 San Francisco // Bottom of the Hill
1/11/2020 Reno // Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor
1/12/2020 Portland // High Water Mark Lounge
1/14/2020 Seattle // Funhouse
1/16/2020 Sacramento // The Press Club
1/17/2020 Las Vegas // Evel Pie
1/18/2020 San Diego // Acid Vault
UK / Europe Tour
1/29/2020 Surrey // The London Stone
1/30/2020 Leeds (UK) // Wharf Chambers
1/31/2020 Edinburg (UK) // Banshee Labyrinth
2/1/2020 Dundee (UK) // Red Apples
2/2/2020 Stafford (UK) // Red Rum
2/3/2020 Exeter (UK) // The Cavern
2/4/2020 London // New Cross Inn
2/5/2020 Canterbury (UK) // Lady Luck Bar
2/6/2020 Paris (FR) Venue TBD
2/7/2020 Mechelen (BE) // De Club
2/8/2020 Lennestadt (D) @ OT Grevenbrück
2/9/2020 Solothurn (CH) // Kofmehl
2/10/2020 Zurich (CH) // Hafenkneipe
2/12/2020 Weinerstadt (AT) Triebwerk
2/13/2020 Linz (AT)// Sputnik
2/14/2020 Zwiezel (DE) // Jugendcafé
2/15/2020 Saarbrücken (DE) // Devils Place