Bad/Dreems isn’t just another Adelaide band; they represent the melodic, the tough and the spirited of that much-maligned city.

A music industry type once mused about a possible compilation of Adelaide bands from the 80s titled Paisley and Smack; the idea, while not inappropriate for the genre, was shelved quickly, for fear of causing offence to protagonists in that still relevant scene. It’s said that Salman Rushdie, upon observing Adelaide’s sociological peculiarities, mused that it would be the ideal setting for a serial killing – a prophetic observation if ever there was one.

Bad/Dreems come from Adelaide. That’s important, and not just because of the negative cultural context noted above. Bad/Dreems’ six song EP Badlands has a veneer of pop elegance, and an abrasive underbelly that makes you think twice about hanging around too long.

‘Chills’ is soft and tender, an afternoon stroll in the sunshine with ne’er a care in the world. ‘Hoping For’ takes everything up a notch, and you’re in the car cruising down Anzac Highway on a Friday night, looking for something to do, anything, please, if only to relieve the frustration and anomie.

There’s an aspect about ‘Home Life’ that’s simultaneously confronting and exciting; the dialectic battle between melody and dirty guitar conjures up memories of The Dagoes and its Greasy Pop successors, and that’s always a good thing. ‘Caroline’ is a good ol’ fashioned pop song with an emphatic wash that makes you wonder whether the narrator’s plea will ever be reciprocated; you’re in a car park of the Christies Beach shopping precinct, and everyone’s on edge.

‘Tomorrow Mountain’ is a little bit psychedelic, and maybe a little bit gothic; ‘Too Old’ is back to earlier happy, slacker pop pastures, hanging out with July 14 and doing nothin’ much, which, paradoxically, is everything that needs to be done.

4/5 stars


Badlands is out now through Mirador.

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