REVIEW: The Bad Larrys - Hodads (Self-Released)

I hadn’t heard much about Phillie's The Bad Larrys when I first gave this impressive slab a spin apart from the fact that they had been dubbed “proto-punk” and “psych-surf” by their peers. Surf? Wow. That’s different. Hodads, however, while definitely incorporating the aforementioned elements totally transcends any well meant attempts at describing their crazy varied sound. It’s hard to pin down a band that so effortlessly flows between genres and mixes things up with such tasty results. The Bad Larrys have absolutely left no stone unturned on their debut LP offering up a banger of an album chock full of well crafted hooks and debauched party anthems. But, if you think they’re going to stop there you’re in for one hell of a shock.

Hodads plays less like an album and more like a collection of radio ready hits destined for raunchy Netflix soundtracks. Let me make myself clear; this is not a bad thing in the least. On the contrary, The Bad Larrys are on to something huge and come riding in on a tsunami dripping with reverb and aching to break. There honestly isn’t a weak link on this record and the more I listen, the more I can’t get it out of my head. It’s just that good.

Mastered by Pete Lyman (Red FangThe Jesus Lizard), the album comes off sounding highly polished while retaining its notably vintage tone. Thanks to the equipment at Davis M. Shubs’ disposal and home studio of Drowning Fish, the band were able to lay down some seriously timeless tracks that groove so well together you’ll be left wondering how they haven’t been scooped up by a major label already. All in good time, I suppose.

Stand outs like “7 Foot Vultures” and “I Like You Anyway” flow between the mournful and whimsical in a way that makes perfect musical and lyrical sense. It’s amusing how fun the band sounds on tunes like these, making die hard converts out of even the most jaded among us. If I wasn’t won over from the start, The Bad Larrys definitely got me with the next track (and ode to early onset alcoholism), “Fired in the Morning”.

With lines like, “How did I come in here like Jean Harlow/and waltz right out like the walking dead?!” what’s not to love? An apt description of my early twenties, this track will have you raging into the wee hours on any given weekday and wishing you had picked up that extra 15 pack before 11.

I would be remiss if not to mention album closer and The Bad Larrys’ latest single, “Rama, Mammon, Abraxas, Ahriman”. Tempered with tantalizing keys and kaleidoscopic guitar shots, the revolving main riff is as heavy as the album gets. Vocalist Sean Flynn demonstrates a certain unbridled poise throughout Hodads but really lets loose on the chorus here. Flynn howls the song’s refrain with all the punk rock fervor of a young Glen Danzig while still managing to keep up his signature Strokes-esque style.

If you’re not already convinced, Hodads is a must for every dedicated music enthusiast. It really is a solid product that vibes easily with psych/stoner and straight ahead garage rock fans alike. Maintaining a healthy balance in mood, the outcome is a fine recording complete with just enough street cred to keep things edgy yet dance-able. If The Bad Larrys are any indication, psych/surf/garage is the new mainstream and make no mistake; you’re going to want to get in on the ground floor.

-EDWARD DINSLEY-

Keep up with everything about The Bad Larrys on their Facebook here.