Bad and Blue prefers to let the music speak for itself. With almost no promotion, the seven-member jazz/blues/hip-hop fusion band dropped their new, self-titled album earlier today. When an advance copy appeared in our inbox, it was formatted as just one long song and little other explanation. But don’t confuse the band’s silence on their album’s release with apathy towards their music. They have a lot to say and aren’t afraid to say it. The first track, “A Way” is a drug rap on par with Danny Brown’s Nosebleeds in its unapologetic realness. She is only proud of she when she be rollin’ loud and tree/ Rollin’ on E, raps frontman Cam Flowers on one of his best verses on the album.
The album stays dark in subject matter, with verses from Cam and frontwoman Tammara Gary dealing with heartbreak, loss, and depression (although an expertly crafted cover of Britney Spears’s Toxic stands out as an exception). The instrumentation is a constant flow of jazz and blues rock, begining the album with basic piano/bass/drums arrangements and progressively incorporating saxophones, organs, and guitars.
The progression and flow of the album makes it play like one long jam session. Tracks like “Ain’t Sunday” and “Monsters” play like medleys of multiple songs strung together with improvisational bridges. “Ain’t Sunday” ends with a wild saxophone solo similar to the hyper-speed jazz that Flying Lotus is putting out. Cam blends Black Thought-esque storytelling with vocal inflections and singing that create obvious Chance The Rapper comparisons while Tammara’s voice impressively commands every track, directing the energy of the band. Her verse on “Monsters” is a standout, reminiscent of Janelle Monae’s more recent work; she transitions from a rapid fire, quiet delivery to belting over screaming horns in less than a minute.
The album is not without faults. The songs begin to lose their improvisational energy as the instrumentation becomes repetitive and Cam hops in with an emotionally charged rap often enough that his verses begin to lose their potency by the end of the album. But at just over 35 minutes, Bad And Blue knows when they’ve said all they needed to say.
Best tracks: A Way, Ain’t Sunday, New City
Stream the album below and catch Bad And Blue live in the Crane Room on Saturday October 18