Bad Kids Turn Good on New EP

South Bay garage-pop/rock band Bad Kids pump out four gems on new EP

If you've watched an episode of SoundDiego TV over the last year or so, chances are good that you've heard Bad Kids. Our show's theme song, "DEF," is a bouncey burner by the five-member South Bay band, and was chosen specifically for its infectious exuberance. With the March 9 release of their "Love Is Where It Fell" EP, Bad Kids continue unhindered on that tip. [Listen/purchase it here]

The new release's four tracks are a logical progression from last year's "Seeing Ghosts" EP and 2017's full-length album "Are You There?" Anyone expecting some kind of "Kid A"-esque metamorphosis on "Love Is Where It Fell" can calm right down -- Bad Kids don't exactly reinvent themselves here but why fix something that ain't broke? There's nothing wrong with refining what you do and cementing an identity over time. That's not to say they've gone unchanged over the past five years, but suffice to say guitars haven't been abandoned for drum machines and samplers just yet.

Instead, the quintet (composed of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Kalani, keyboardist Chad Boland, drummer/vocalist Leon Lara, bassist Sergio Esparza and multi-instrumentalist Diego Guardado) continue to pump out the feel-good garage-pop/rock they do so well.

Starting off with "Wanted Something," Bad Kids hit the ground running with a breezy summertime bop that sounds like the illegitimate lovechild of the Smiths' "This Charming Man" and the Cure's "Friday I'm in Love." Guitars jangle while Lomu croons like he's floating in the distance over warbly synths.

"Fantasma," the second track, is a bit more energetic -- Lara takes over lead singing duties here, along with all other instrumentation in fact -- pining over a love interest in Spanish, as the track alternates between charging verses and pensive doo-wop choruses. While the vocals seem a bit stiff, the music keeps things loosey goosey. The Kids swing back to Moz and Marr territory on "Rollercoaster" and the EP's final track "Pensive" (originally released as a single in 2018), providing a nice closed loop with "Wanted Something" when on repeat.

"Love Is Where It Fell" (produced by Alex Jacobelli at Sunsick Studios) is rambunctiously fun and undeniably San Diego pop -- in the way that local genre colleagues like the Frights, Wavves, Los Shadows, and Mrs. Magician do so well. Carry on Bad Kids, carry on.

Dustin Lothspeich runs his own music equipment-loving blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.

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