HomeMusicBad Science Releases “Spacewalking”

Bad Science Releases “Spacewalking”

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Houston, TX native Laura Beale, creates original music under the name Bad Science. Her debut album Spacewalking was released in May, and it’s the first music of any kind she has officially released. The album was written, recorded, mixed and mastered in her bedroom, with some help from Beale’s close friend Hailey Ivey. Ivey helped co-write and provided vocals for a couple of songs on the album. Spacewalking is the culmination of years of bits and pieces of writings and hundreds of crappy demos recorded on the artist’s phone mic, which she had accumulated throughout her teen years.

These “bits and pieces” eventually formed an album that some have said almost comes across like a story. Although Beale  didn’t necessarily set out with the intention of the album “telling a story,” listening through the finished product, it does move through so many of her most guarded thoughts and feelings and ups and downs prominent during her teen years. Themes cover near narcissism to self-loathing, from great happiness to deep sadness, from nihilism to crushing existential dread and fear. Not having any recording equipment besides the cheapest bare necessities, Beale had no idea how to record music or use any DAW before creating this album, but she states that made her even more proud of how it turned out. 

Although she sings on the album, Beale admits that she’s actually not a very good singer. So on the parts where she felt she couldn’t do the song any justice, Ivey  did some vocals, for example on the songs “See?” “Peacetime” and “Hey Hey Hey.” Beale also admits that during the making of the songs, listening to the album in its finished form, Spacewalking sounds influenced by many of her favorite artists such as Linkin Park, Twenty One Pilots, Tame Impala’s synth-heavy electronic and cool-bassline-rich sound. Even video game music from games Laura played as a kid such as Kingdom Hearts and Mass Effect where influential. The album’s overall sound has a “spacey” feel to it, hence the album name and album cover with the matching green and black space-themed Bandcamp website. 

“I Have Slept… (intro)” has got a deep, pulsating bass beat, classic synth sounds and a hypnotic delivery of vocals. This opener is quite extraordinary and I liked it a lot. Next up is “Nothing Happens” and the style here is one part ‘80s retro new wave, or should I say many parts new wave, but played and mixed in such a way that sounded so captivating and new. Really liked the lead/rhythm guitar on this track. “Hey Hey Hey” mixes dreamy pop and new wave in a lighthearted kind of way – although I would imagine if some of the lyrics written were during Beale’s teen years, perhaps they were not so lighthearted. “Peacetime” has got a fantastic drum/bass sound, especially on the bass lines. Laura also delivers some of her words in almost a fast rap deliver, some of which are very dark – like, “the wounds I’m feeling now have all come from knives I can name.”

This tune quickly became a favorite. At this point, instead of a Linkin Park or Twenty One Pilots influence, I’m hearing older stuff, from the likes of Kate Bush, Björk, The Human League, Mazzy Star and perhaps even Siouxsie and the Banshees. There’s some really great stuff going on here! Next up is “Something” a song that begins with a slightly lighter feel and approach. There’s a steady electronic beat going on with a pulsating bass synth, accompanied by a pleasant sounding keyboard melody and lightly played guitars. Lyrically, this is another heavy song centered on depression and cynicism, while “looking for an easy way out.” The next track “See?” Is the album’s longest song and it features a piano/synth intro and phone messages by, I’m assuming, family and friends who are concerned for their friend and daughter. The two lines that really struck a cord for me were – “Thank God I don’t get what I want / I’m not low enough to haunt.” Wow. This song is both moving and beautiful, dark and cold. 

The last song transitions nicely into “Feeling Lucky” – an electronic ride of synths and electronic drums, with a mix of clean and distorted guitars, all coming together playing a sad melody. This song is one of the most complex and dynamic on the entire album. Lyrically, I thought Bealse’s writing here, which cover the themes of loneliness, confusion and self-sabotage, were a bittersweet contrast to the song’s title. Feeling lucky is the better place, or state of mind, to be in – and I hope she has found it. The album’s last tune is an outro called “…and Now I See.” This shorter song takes only two lines of lyrics from the first song – “I have slept / Now I see” and repeats them five times. It is a sparsely arranged, spacious and spacey sounding track. Quite beautiful and haunting in  many ways. It also features a heavy, electronic bass/drum beat, while keys play the song’s main melody, which ends sharply. 

Spacewalking by Bad Science is one of those albums that’s not so much cryptic or mysterious in its songwriting, (although the words are wonderfully executed), but for me, musically speaking, this debut has many colors and layers within it. There’s a lot going on musically, which beckons another listen or two in my opinion. Although there are old school influences of classic pop, new wave, synth pop and electronica – Bad Science brings forth a fresh approach that should make a lasting impression on the listener. 

Heather Savage

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