CD Review: Badger/Time Will Tell
Outside of Extreme, Pat Badger has played with Jason Bieler of Saigon Kick in Super TransAtlantic and of course Tribe of Judah with Gary Cherone but has never really had his own project or solo effort. We all know what he brought to the table in all of these bands beyond his solid bass playing and that was his very underrated, extremely smooth harmonies. With that in mind, I had always wondered what a project of his own might sound like? My thought would be one part Cheap Trick, add in a touch of Queen, a sprinkle of Aerosmith, a dab of KISS and a small pinch of Van Halen and that would be a signature Pat Badger album. Well you know what, ‘Time Will Tell” from Badger is truly all of that and a whole lot more.
This debut record from Mr. Badger has exceeded my expectations, especially as a vocalist. It sort of reminds me the first time I heard Love Gun and spun “Shock Me” and said hey that’s Ace Frehley! Same feeling when song 1 popped on “Whatever Happened to 2 Us?” – Hey that’s Pat Badger! Of course a great album comes down to songwriting and Pat enlisting the assistance of pop artist/songwriter/producer Bleu. Bleu was Pat’s “Ace” in the hole on this project. This cd is full of catchy pop tunes, crunchy guitar work and a solid rhythm section and makes “Time Will Tell” worthy of my personal consideration for my #1 breakout release of 2014.
“Whatever Happened To 2 Us?” is the perfect opener because not only because it’s a catchy tune but also because we know right away Badger is more than capable of handling lead vocal duties. With a great chorus and an outstanding riff, I hope if the band plays gigs they open with this.
“Inside Out” is by far the heaviest track on the album. It is also just as catchy as the opener and an even stronger vocal. Pat dug down and was able to up his game and go for a higher range during the chorus. That’s what I heard from the first listen but as I went back it’s even more impressive. Some very solid work from Kevin Figueiredo displayed on this one as well. The momentum just got shifted upward!
“Lie (Behind My Eyes)” is slower but I would qualify it as mid tempo not a ballad, to me anyway. Again very catchy and I kept finding myself singing the chorus on this one over and over in my head even after leaving my car. This track had the longest lasting power on me personally. It’s not my favorite but it’s in the top 3 for sure. Most of the tracks on this album are personal, heartfelt and straight from the Badger gut. “Lie” is by no means the exception to the rule but simply personifies it. Well done.
“Losing Faith” had to be the toughest for Pat Badger because he wrote it following the passing of his mom. This song had my eyes watering even before I finished hearing it for the first time all the way through. Slower paced in the vein of “Lie” and has touches of a string section in the background. If you buy the cd, check out the quote from the New Testament after the lyrics from the song are done. Nice job Pat..Mom would be more than proud.
“When It Rains” has some additional string arrangements throughout which I like however the track on a whole falls a little flat for me, especially during the chorus. I would have liked to have heard a bit more reach or a quicker tempo here particularly during the chorus. A good song that had potential to be better; rhythm section is again on target here.
“Time Will Tell” starts out like a cartoon soundtrack for 14 seconds and then the guitar kicks in and we have a very Cheap Trick type vocal style and best the harmonies on the album. This song just oozes coolness and a pop treat for the listener.
“Freak Me Out” is that up-tempo summer driving with the windows down song. The lead guitar on here is particularly cool and comes out courtesy of Mr. Gary Hoey – catchy in a jump up and down sort of way.
“Suicidal Sunday” is the type of vocal that Pat might have had the hardest time with because it’s so up-tempo throughout with a higher range especially on the chorus. It almost seemed as if he was straining at times but then rebounds and hits all of those notes. In the vein of “Freak Me Out” but heavier for sure.
“Lost and Found” is my favorite track on the record. – fun, lively, memorable. Loved the groove throughout. Lyrics like “Knockin back the beers” is what I’m all about anyway! Having old friend Gary Cherone adding vocals in an almost duet style sure comes in handy. Cherone really hits some pretty high notes on the bridge and together they make this the “go to” song on the record. Brillant.
“Into The Light” is about a one minute guitar instrumental from Joe Pessia which sounds a lot like the intro to a song on David Coverdale’s 2000 solo album (“Into The Light”) called “Living On Love” with guitar work from Doug Bossi and Earl Slick. I’m not reaching here! Go to YouTube and give it a listen and you decide. .By the way Joe, I mean this with every sense of gratitude and flattery not a criticism. Well done.
“C’mon C’mon” is such as strong track its shame it’s the last song on the album. So catchy and uptempo it contains a ton of great harmonies and another quality vocal from Pat, although he did use a four letter word..shame on you Badger! I like the use of acoustic guitars at one point during the bridge. Strong track.
What to take away from “Time Will Tell”? Mostly that Pat Badger has been underutilized within the ranks of Extreme and like KISS did on Love Gun with “Shock Me” I think it’s time for Pat Badger to have a lead vocal on the next Extreme record. “Shock Me” shocked a lot of KISS fans in 1977 and “Time Will Tell” will most likely have that same shock value on Extreme fans in 2014.
Pat Badger has proved one thing for sure, he is more than capable of writing and performing within the ranks of his own band. The fact that the band consists of not only superstar Bleu but old friends like Joe Pessia from Hurtsmile and K Figg from Extreme certainly makes Badger a future force to be reckoned with within the hard rock genre. Badgers are short- legged omnivores in the family of otters, polecats, weasels and wolverines. Badger the band should have long lasting power and be more in the vein of carnivores that derive their energy from a diet consisting of meaty tracks ready to take the rock world by its ears.
You can pick up the CD right now at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/badger1.