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Hailing from Alan Partridge territory, Norwich's Bad Touch simply describe their style as that of rock. After listening to the music on 'Truth Be Told', their sophomore full-length release, and follow-up to last year's debut album, 'Half Way Home', I'd qualify their self-proclaimed stylistic proclivities as firmly rooted within the retro rock camp. In one sense an anachronism, and in another, simply riding the wave of retro rock resurgence, it'd be unfair to dismiss Bad Touch's sonic stylings as anachronistic. The popularity of disparate trends in music is cyclical, right? So, it's a scene's popularity that has to be considered contemporary, even if bands associated with any one scene borrow tried-and-tested musical idioms from a once-booming genre of yore. It's something of a paradox, I guess, between re-emerging, prevalent trends and the nostalgic aesthetic associated with said trends.

I'm not describing Bad Touch as a paradox with any degree of inherence; rather, just how their music, and perceptions of, should be contextualised. And there are no two ways about it, the songs on 'Truth Be Told' are no-nonsense, classic rock revelry through and through. It's a thoroughly unpretentious album, loaded with all kinds of retro charms, from the nicely articulated grooves of 'Heartbreaker, Soulshaker' to the up-tempo, feel-good rocker, 'Let the Sun Shine'. Blues-based guitar solos courtesy of Rob Glendinning are aplenty, as are the semi-gruff vocals of frontman Stevie Westwood, along with some well-executed three-way vocal harmonies. There's some serious talent here; that's a certainty. However, there are also some serious clichés to be heard, from the very first track, 'One More Night' to album closer, 'The Mountain'. It's a case of heard-it-all-before, tenfold. As such, 'Truth Be Told', and this is the very truth I'm telling here, functions as one big slap of pastiche. Well executed, and good-sounding pastiche but, at the same time, it's all inescapably derivative.

If you can forgive the pastiched nature of 'Truth Be Told', or simply have much lower expectations of originality in music than I do, then you'll find much to enjoy on Bad Touch's latest work. To quote Partridge: "Lovely stuff"... or, more accurately: "Not my words, Michael; the words of Shakin' Stevens."
Bad Touch Records
Review by Mark Holmes
2nd Dec 2016
1) One More Night
2) 99%
3) Waiting for This
4) Under My Skin
5) Heartbreaker, Soulshaker
6) Take Your Time
7) Let the Sun Shine
8) My Mother Told Me
9) Outlaw
10) Made to Break
11) Healing Hand; 12) The Mountain
"...'Truth Be Told'...functions as one big slap of pastiche. Well executed, and good-sounding pastiche but, at the same time, it's all inescapably derivative."