Bass Drum of Death are the type of band one out of every three of your pals will have heard of. Mainly because of their inclusion on the GTA 5 soundtrack back in 2013. They are one of the stand-outs from the garage rock revival over the last decade. Say I Won’t is their fifth record and showcases growth as well as a return to form.
The band, which is led by singer John Barrett, had seen some change since the early days of GB City in 2011. This is the first album written and recorded by the band rather than just Barrett himself. He admits that those first albums were recorded “quickly” and “cheaply” for an excuse to tour. That is part of the charm of the genre but as Barrett and the band evolve they have moved past the need for a USB mic plugged into a laptop.
That attitude toward recording showcases the evolution of Barrett and the band. With the first three albums released within a four year period then a four year gap until the next and now a five year gap. The quick and cheap is gone and in its place is a thought out, planned album. Barrett even collaborated with his bandmates for the recording process, making this the first Bass Drum of Death album that wasn’t a Barrett solo production.
Despite this musical growth gained from touring the world, the pandemic saw Barrett return home to Oxford, Mississippi. Immersed in the city that birthed the band in the first place has brought them back to their roots, including their original label. As such the sound sees a return to the raw GB City days. This makes Say I Won’t a best of both worlds album. On one hand there’s the sound that made them popular and on the other there’s an audible maturation. Tracks like Too Cold to Hold and Say Your Prayers could be lost tracks from those early days but they have a production value that far exceeds those original records.
Say I Won’t is a cracking album that will entertain fans of the band but it also showcases an evolution that could reel in new listeners.