Bad Habit - 'Above And Beyond'

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Bad Habit - 'Above And Beyond'

Slick and sophisticated, like a fine vintage wine, Bad Habit just seem to get better and better with age.

Admittedly perhaps not the most prolific of AOR/Hard Rock exports spawned by the wonderfully vibrant scene over in Sweden, Bad Habit are nonetheless one of its more notable exponents. Debuting as long ago as 1987 with the highly collectable ‘Young And Innocent’ mini album, the ensuing 20 odd years has seen them release just four full studio albums, all of which are absolutely essential additions to any serious collection. Maybe it’s all the waiting and anticipation that adds to the mystique and intrigue that surrounds Bad Habit, but whatever it is, at the end of the day I’d be hard pushed to name even one mediocre track in their back catalogue!

Living with such an illustrious reputation for excellence can often be a double edged sword. On the one hand fans of the band will experience a heightened sense of anticipation whenever new material is mooted, whilst on the other side of the fence, hardened cynics will be sharpening their knives with relish, just on the off chance it turns out to be all hype and no substance. Lucky for us then that Bad Habit seem to care little for the fickle slings and arrows of fortune, as once again, their latest studio masterpiece ticks all the right boxes.

Released a mere three years after the excellent ‘Hear-Say’ set, ‘Above And Beyond’ is yet another outstanding example of the songwriters’ art delivering on all its promises. Produced like its predecessor by Jonas Reingold, the sound is rich and powerful (even a little grandiose perhaps), the usual cache of stirring melodies and finely wrought hooks perfectly interwoven with those soaring, multi-faceted vocals.

Opening up with the shimmering ‘I Don’t Want You’, what really struck me first time out of the wrapper was just how strong a dynamic the band had captured this time around ... you can literally feel all the pent up angst and emotion oozing from the speakers! The guitars seem to have been afforded a little more prominence at the forefront of the mix on this release, although thankfully not at the expense of even one those trademark Bad Habit melodies which are just as pervasive as ever. Indeed, the exact opposite could be nearer the truth as after repeated plays over the last week or two, I’d have to say that the likes of ‘I Believe’, ‘Let Me Be The One’, ‘My Confession’ and ‘Above And Beyond’ are quite possibly some of the best songs the band have ever written!

Slick and sophisticated, like a fine vintage wine, Bad Habit and their Scandie tinged brand of AOR just seem to get better and better with age!


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