Bad Llama are an alternative rock quintet from the UK raring to release their debut EP Shedding Skin.
Blending ethereal guitar work with haunting melody, Shedding Skin opens with The Healer, an intensely atmospheric track demonstrating the band’s range. The large portion of the vocals are consistent and melodic, with harsher vocals interspersed effectively. At this point in the EP, the melodic vocal delivery is not particularly passionate or lyrically impressive, but in structural terms the band’s writing is admirable.
The Wolf You Feed improves on the vocal delivery, which feels more invested. There’s ample musical variety here, flowing seamlessly from alternative rock through to fairly progressive instrumentation. The musicianship that Bad Llama operate is not excessively grandiose however, as Paint In Sound demonstrates: some of the high-toned , intricate riffs the band weave are understated, just a small element in a complex picture which makes for greatly enjoyable listening.
Bad Llama change the pace up somewhat on 10 Years Time, which begins with a slower tone though it builds back to the band’s usual pace. It’s a nice chance to appreciate the vocal range on offer here, as some of the lines reach up to lofty falsetto. Final track Exile is undeniably the highlight of the EP. It’s a long and ambitious piece of music showcasing the best of what Bad Llama can do. Lyrically, there’s still nothing show stopping, but an extended instrumental section with an intense climax and aptly harsh vocals is a poignant moment in Shedding Skin.
In all, there are few truly stand-out moments in Shedding Skin, but it is still a thoroughly enjoyable EP that speaks volumes of the potential of Bad Llama. Moments like the climax of Exile encapsulate the magic that the band are capable of, and just need to harness more consistently.