After a long time reigning over the rock n’ roll lexicon with pleasure, alternative music is arguably back in the underground place from which it came exploding some thirty years ago, and bands like Bad Veins are giving it the righteous homecoming the genre deserves with songs like “Wendy.” “Wendy” sees Bad Veins going even lustier after the melody than they did in previous outings, and while I enjoyed what they initially released as an intro to their sound, I think they’ve grown exponentially in the time that has passed between the pair’s first performance together and this latest gold nugget.
First off, the precision that Bad Veins has as a band has always been impressive to me, and they’re sounding a bit more cohesive in this release than I was expecting them to. They’re not being rigid or robotic with the rhythm in this single, but I think they’ve got each other’s groove down a bit better than they have in previous studio cuts paced at the same tempo as “Wendy” is. They don’t fear speed; to me, they nuance the beat in this track to suit their equally versatile approach to the hook.
This arrangement benefits the band as a whole as opposed to singular members or instrumental themes in the music, which is not something I have been able to say for the vast majority of indie rock to come out in the past ten months of the year. With a return to underground aesthetics comes a mostly guitar-heavy selection of output from the majority of this group’s contemporaries, but “Wendy” is a lot more balanced, advertising an alternative rock that feels more democratic in the tradition of The Smiths than it does guitar-centric in the way mainstream acts ala Soundgarden became.
The harmonies in this single are admittedly much more pristine than they need to be, but I like the off-the-cuff edge this introduces to the main melody in the track. There’s no arguing whether or not Bad Veins reject a mainstream fragility that has become the central theme piece of countless alternative bands in the past fifteen years to reach some level of support on the FM dial, because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to cut loose as much as they do in “Wendy,” which captures some of their best moments in the studio to date, from where I sit at least.
Those who are hurting for an engaging affair from a slightly sophisticated rock outfit that doesn’t care for the condensed nonsense and scene politics a lot of their rivals and predecessors got lost in would do well to hear what Bad Veins are slinging in “Wendy” this October, if for no other reason than to get in on some of the truest alternative pop/rock to come out of the underground in years. This Cincinnati-based band knows what’s missing from the spectrum right now, and they have no problem delivering it in this stellar new single whilst holding on to a little bit of intrigue for future releases as well.