BESTiE's No Bad Days is an undercooked offering
No Bad Days (Independent)
Pineapple, as a fruit, is fantastic. It basically pairs with anything as a topping, from pizzas to ice cream, just waiting to punch those taste buds up. “Pineapple,” the opening track from local crew BESTiE’s debut LP, No Bad Days, however, is a little harder to swallow. Cribbing from the Vampire Weekend blueprint, the track is steeped in overjoyed oceanside rhythms, Tropicália-influenced guitars, and kookaburra calls. In itself, that doesn’t sound half bad, but add to that the underenunciated but overprojected vocals of Tristan Orchard, who sounds like Sting after being shot up with 100 ccs of high-grade Novocaine, and the track begins to drag.
It’s an inauspicious start to the group’s first full-length, but BESTiE guitarist Andrew Janczewski manages to pick up the slack for some of the release. In general, his fluid command of the fretboard tends to favour the intricately picked harmonies of the Smiths’ Johnny Marr, something not heard in town since the Organ shuffled onto stages in the early ’00s. Instead of hearing it paired with Morrissey or icy Katie Ritchie, though, the six-stringer’s sparkle is slotted alongside marble-mouthed Orchard. The singer sounds lost on the muted bounce of “Asleep on the Bus”, and grows even more tedious as he alternates between whistling and crying into a giant cellphone on the otherwise immaculate postpunk jangle of “Kelly Kapowski”, seemingly about not getting a call from the ’80s TV character. Closer “Sriracha” bookends the collection with more island rhythms, but ultimately plays much less spicy than the hot sauce of the same name.
There’s more than one BESTiE floating around town these days, among them a Chinatown sausage shop. Considering some of No Bad Days’ undercooked offerings, your best bet might be to stick with the wurst.