Bad Suns’ hit “Cardiac Arrest” seems to pop up everywhere. But unlike other summer jams that reach the inevitable ubiquity and backlash, Bad Suns have managed to craft a song that appeases both the pop crowd and the mainstream-averse demographic. As the main single off Language & Perspective, their debut album, “Cardiac Arrest” encapsulates nicely the group’s sound: meticulous, tight, and upbeat.
The California quartet formed in 2012, spending the first few years touring and polishing their sound. What emerged
from their experience is an album full of insanely catchy, backbeat-riding hooks. Lead vocalist Christo Bowman has the kind of voice that wouldn’t sound out of place in any of the post-punk groups that emerged in the ‘80s, but the Bad Suns’ unique blend of sounds is tailor-made for the soaring power of his vocal lines.
Although the group’s overall sound skews more toward alt-rock, the group’s myriad influences are discernible through the individual pieces. Ray Libby’s guitar lines have a distinct West Coast flavor, often sprinkled with harmonics and subtle riffs that blend into the thudding bass supplied by Gavin Bennett. Drummer Miles Morris is tactful and on-point, slipping in tom fills to match his snare bursts and lending a much-needed edge to the tracks.
“Dancing on Quicksand” is both a nice counterpart to “Cardiac Arrest” and an example of the group’s ability to invert its patterns to give tracks a unique sound. While many of their songs kick off with a strong guitar hook, “Dancing” leads with a solid bass riff complemented by a loopy guitar line and Bowman’s falsetto, which gives the song a weird and entertaining ‘80s dance vibe.
When a group breaks through with a hit, it’s easy to miss the rest of its output. You may not be able to avoid the single on its own, but the Bad Suns’ ability to build out the rest of a solid album shows that these guys get it. It’s only going to get better. »
– Charles Trowbridge