Bad Moves

Bad Moves "Wearing Out The Refrain" 12"

Regular price $23.99

When people sing together, is it necessarily cathartic? Is catharsis necessarily rejuvenating? And what if the aftermath of catharsis turns out to be the same old frustration? With their third full-length, Washington, D.C.’s Bad Moves have expanded their founding artistic identity — a candy-coated guitar-pop shell surrounding a bitter lyrical core — by refracting their ideas through a new set of musical forms that weaponize repetition. On the new Wearing Out the Refrain, recorded once again with producer Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Algernon Cadwallader), Bad Moves propose that the flip side of the delirious harmony of the basement show singalong is the volatile, accusatory antiphony of a community divided by strain, shouting the same desperate hook back and forth at one another.

There is a pervasive perception that in power pop, hooks often come at the expense of lyrical sophistication, even intelligibility — that long vowels and crisp consonants are merely the empty frame on which to hang those euphoric bridges and serotonin-rush outros. But perhaps not since Chumbawamba has a group so effectively combined pop architecture with focused and hyper-detailed narratives (the band recalls “cleaning literal shit from a dive bar toilet” in “New Year’s Reprieve”) of class rage and communal despair. The group’s collective songwriting allows for a conceptual unity, in which an album about feeling caught in repetitive cycles expresses that theme not just lyrically — as in the recurring imagery of swirling riptides and drain-circling undertows — but sonically, intentionally beating a riff into the ground to make a point. The structure of the New Pornographers-esque “Let The Rats Inherit The Earth” is Sisyphean fatalism defined, stopping and starting over every time the music is about to reach a peak.

Bad Moves’ tag-team vocals, which forgo centering anyone one member, also let the traditionally confessional “I” become the “we” of a community, or generation. Witness the ambitious climate change metaphor of “Eviction Party,” which understands the union of sugary pop and genuine angst embodied by 1960s girl-group songcraft, and uses it to expand a personal story to planetary scale. “It’s my eviction, I’ll cry if I want to” Bad Moves shouts, channeling the dawning millennial midlife crisis. The personal may be political, but what if both feel weighed down and trapped in circular, inescapable ruts?

1. A Drowning Confession
2. Let the Rats Inherit the Earth
3. Eviction Party
4. Hallelujah
5. I Know I Know
6. Outta My Head
7. New Year’s Reprieve
8. Sorry That I’m Not Better
9. The Undertow
10. A Lapse in the Emptiness
11. Days Don’t Quit

Release date: September 13, 2024

Pre-order Details
This is expected to ship on or around September 6, 2024.