Thursday, January 23, 2014

Together Pangea Goes All Badillac

Ever since giving their two singles a spin last year, Offer and Snakedog respectively, I've been anticipating the arrival of Badillac from together Pangea. The band puts garage rock back where it belongs, with an unpredictable edge that lifts your spirits and shreds everything else around it.

The album is the Los Angeles-based trio's third full length but first with Harvest Records. Badillac itself pays tribute to some of the supersonic rock that first inspired them to start playing, while ensuring the band steers clear of being confined to the post-millennial punk put on previous records.

"It might be confusing for people, assuming we're like this garage punk band and then hearing this record," says William Keegan (singer/songwriter/guitarist). "But we really don't want to get trapped at all."

together Pangea is all relentless rock energy and raw punk attitude.

Hearing Badillac for the first time is like hearing together Pangea for the first time. It's a fresh outlook that puts the band's beer blast days as Pangea behind them but keeps the edge where it counts. What's new is more consistency and fullness, and considerably more provocative and intelligent lyrics.

It stands to reason. Keegan first stated writing and recording right out of his bedroom in Santa Clarita. His friends Danny Bengston (bass) and Erik Jimenez (drums) initially jumped in to add more depth to the sound. All three still make up the lineup (along with guest guitarist Cory Hanson from W-H-I-T-E), they've matured as musicians and are a little less afraid to try on a heavier, darker vibe.

One such track, Cat Man, immediately shows how the band has sharpened its claws. While it's not my favorite among the 12 new tracks that make up Badillac, it is a beast of a rocker that takes a long hard walk into darkness. Just be forewarned that the video may have the potential to trigger seizures.

While other tracks play equally dark (inspired by a particularly bad breakup), the pace of the album is mostly powered up and often angry. The opener Alive, for example, toggles back and forth between chugs and pickups. It artfully captures the pull between an on-again and off-again relationship or the mashup of being sad, mad, and sad again.

The band follows it up with the unbridled burner Make Myself True, a relentless last chance song that spins into the big title track — a brutal breakup song that comes complete with shivers. Badillac bristles just the way it ought to, without any excuses. No one second guesses that it needs to end.

Does He Really Care captures some of that aggression too. The only difference is that Keegan tucks it all into a song that lasts a mere minute and a half. The clipped track does a great job dusting off the dance floor for River, Offer, and Depress. It's also about this time down the track list when together Pangea becomes addictive.

Interestingly enough, they don't stick with the angst of it. They slip into this provocative slush of trudging emptiness. Sick S**t and Where The Night Ends survey the wreckage. It doesn't end on an electric note like we hope, but rather something saddled with self-doubt and the sickening possibility of a relapse.

The slowest brooder on the album is down there at the bottom too. No Way Out is nuanced and pouting, a string of regrets that question whether turning the corner makes sense. It doesn't matter if it does. There comes a point in any breakup where you have to surrender to it. It's over.

Badillac By Together Pangea Kills 9.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

This is one of those albums that graduates a band from being an opener to a headliner. It's well deserved, with this new and deliciously dangerous brand of rock and roll putting them on the right path. Badillac is a brilliant way to start the year for together Pangea.

You can find Badillac by together Pangea on Amazon. The album is also available to download from iTunes or order the CD from Barnes & Noble. Offer is included on the album; Snakedog is not. together Pangea is currently lining up tour dates for a great year ahead. Find the schedule on Facebook.
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