by Nathan Cardiff
A short seven months have passed when I feared for the future of Bad Kids to the Front, Drew Smith’s avant-garde experimental rock outfit. A major life transition had him leave the confines of Kansas, but it would take a helluva lot more than distance to deter the young man and his musical ambitions.
Post Teen Drama was his blazing summer scorcher; rowdy and ambient. It was enough to drive the heat crazy. Now comes winter and his follow-up, I Don’t Want To Go Insane. The spacey opener “Obstreperous Machines” is a catchy instrumental (as Bad Kids to the Front are known to do) that catches a jazzy groove and never lets go. It buzzes and hums like a machine, but Smith is all heart. The chugging “Mechanical Brain” slams its way into your head. The creepy “I Missed The Rain” drops us back into an infinite nightmare; haunting in its twenty-two minute delivery, Bad Kids to the Front reminds us of their ambient roots.
The fuzzy “Cops” lets the drums do the talking; splitting through the buzz and glow of the track with a vicious delivery. Smith makes sure every instrument, musician, and sound gets their time to shine. Bad Kids to the Front hit heavy on tracks like “Lightning,” “Prince Gustav of Taxis,” the second half of “Radical Ghosts,” and the wild middle section of “That Dude Was Alright, Then He Got Hit By A Plane.” With I Don’t Want To Go Insane, they swing like a pendulum between the floating air of their ambient noise and the shredding buzz of rock ‘n’ roll. They are doing it all.
Once again, Smith is joined by a cavalcade of star musicians (check the liner notes yourself) for the record. Never fear, Bad Kids to the Front continues their reign of tearing up experimental rock.
Favorite Tracks: “Obstreperous Machines,” “Cops,” & “Radical Ghosts”
by Nathan Cardiff