The Daily Record

By havohej

Bad Brains I against I

Bad Brains 'I against I' (Instant Records, 1986)

It's remiss of me but Bad Brains are a band that have passed me by to an extent. I appreciate 'Rock for Light' much more than I used to and I can understand the influence they had on hundreds of bands I like, but they never grabbed me the way they grabbed many of my friends.

This album was their major critical and commercial break through apparently and it's not to my liking in the slightest. Most of the tracks, 'She's Calling You' in particular, wouldn't sound out of place on a John Hughes movie soundtrack. It's so produced and 80's sounding it's dated massively.

The performances, as you would expect from musical prodigies, are immaculate but seem sucked dry of any danger by the saccharine pop feel. H.R. shows off his myriad vocals ticks and styles and is impressive throughout. He recorded the vocals for 'Sacred Love' on the phone from prison where he was doing a little time for possession of his spiritual weed, which is pretty hardcore and adds a bit of interest to an otherwise directionless jam.

Bad Brains were Rastafarian, jazz fusion players who somehow created the template for hardcore with their furious debut release. Unfortunately, on this LP they have created a funk laden mess that would obviously influence bands like Faith No More and the very worst recordings of the Cro Mags.

Check this out for interest and check out their earlier records to hear how four rastas from Washington D. C. changed punk music forever.


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