Wrecking the planet, a perpetual culture of intentional ignorance, the banality of standard office jobs – there’s no doubt that Bad Timing is a band with a few serious topics on their collective minds.
The Auckland quartet, headed by Chris Marshall of bands including Miss June, are not ones to shy away from making their voices heard, a sentiment found in abundance both in their live shows and debut album, ‘Might As Well Be Cabbage’.
Across the seven tracks, there are two distinct ways in which said voices manifest themselves. The first is in the vehement attacks on the clear deficiencies in the way we run our lives, with an understandable focus on NZ.
Marshall is nothing if not pointed when he barks: “Our world is fucked up, it’s too late to turn back, human interference has gone too far” on opener Human Interference.
100% Pure meanwhile is a damning look at the marketed perspective of the country as an ecological haven, presented most starkly when Marshall and bassist/vocalist Siobhan Leilani scream in unison the refrain “100% pure is bullshit.”.
‘Might As Well Be Cabbage’ is more than a tirade on our disregard for the natural world, however. Avoca-don’t is both an ode to the fleshy green fruit while simultaneously a lament of its extortionate price, a genuinely funny tune that also exposes the strength to Leilani’s singing.
Closer Tui is an ode to an altogether different Kiwi favourite, Marshall imploring the bird to “…sing to us, from the trees, you keep me company.” There is a sincere sense of humour and compassion for the world around us that rings through both of these tracks, a solid counterbalance to the frustration shown elsewhere.
Other than the messy Cabbage, Bad Timing cleverly manage both the activism and the sense of awe that informs this record. Tying this together with a variation of post-punk, surf-rock and multiple other dynamics is no mean feat, and overall ‘It Might As Well Be Cabbage’ proves an arresting and provocative release.
With climate change a topic on many Kiwi lips right now, the conversations would do well to take heed of the duality on ‘Might As Well Be Cabbage’ to inform their own ongoing debates.