Pre-Release Review: Bandaid Brigade’s Breakout Album

Bandaid Brigade drops their debut album “I’m Separate” on January 21. The band consists of Zach Quinn (PEARS) on guitar, bass and vocals, Brian Wahlstrom (Scorpios, Gods of Mount Olympus) playing keys and vocals, Paul Rucker (Armchair Martian, Street Dogs, Drag The River) on drums and Chris Fogal (The Gamits) playing guitar.

With Wahlstrom being a classically trained opera singer and Quinn’s background in folk, the two offer a unique vibe to Bandaid Brigade’s sound. As a whole, the band brings an ’80s rock vibe to 2020 with their debut album.

The album, “I’m Separate,” features 11 tracks transcending the traditional confines of punk rock by incorporating folk, ’80s rock and even notes of disco.

The album’s cover
Artwork by Paul Smith (Image courtesy of Earshot Media)

Track by Track:

Everything: The first track on the album gives off Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers vibes accompanied with a sweet electric guitar strum pattern.

Travel Light: The second song is rooted in a folky-country sound and has the vocals and lyrics of a modern-day indie band. The band released a music video last June.

Attila: Attila brings forth the thought of a slow dance scene in a cheesy coming-of-age ’80s movie—think a prom scene in “Pretty in Pink” or “Sixteen Candles.”

Stay Busy: This track has heavy piano usage with notes of angst and reflective lyrics.

Treat Me Like a Christmas Tree: It is not quite a holiday tune despite its name, but this song is upbeat and gets your feet moving. I would describe it as a mixture of ABBA instrumental and early 2000s vocals (think Good Charlotte). Any way you slice it, it is a bop that elicits a thrill.

Losing Light: More ABBA vibes shine through with this track, and it highlights Wahlstrom’s piano skills. There is an electronic sound which makes it relevant and ready for the 2020 music scene. Also, the lyrics are on par with a Bon Jovi song so that offers a fun musical experience.

I Think it’s Going to Rain Today: This track uses some dissonance to tug the heart strings with its sad sound. Honestly, it gave off broadway vibes; the vocals reminded me of Anthony Rapp in “Rent.” The song is somewhere between spoken word poetry, Johnny Cash singing and a soliloquy. I haven’t hear anything quite like it.

Holding Steady: This is my favorite song on the album. It is a “dance in front of the mirror” kind of song with an upbeat instrumental. In addition, there is also good vocal contrast on this track.

Break the Grid: The guitar riffs in this track give off Springsteen vibes and evokes memories of a running free, running wild picturesque youth. I think it could be added to a feel-good playlist for when you need a pick me up (Spotify link here)

Nothing Matters: I’d describe this one as Elton John meets small-town punk-rock angst.

Nothing: For the final song on the album, I heard notes of a blues influence. It also reminded me of “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Primus

“I’m Separate” also features Joe Cardillo on the saxophone, Lief Sjostrom on the cello, Olivia Shaw playing the violin, and some of Sandi King’s vocals.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fresh take on 80’s rock that incorporates punk, folk, and a little electronic, give Bandaid Brigade’s “I’m Separate” a listen.

These are my interpretations of the songs but be sure to give the album some love and offer your own thoughts on it down below when it drops later this month on Apple Music and Spotify

For more information on Bandaid Brigade, check out their website here.

Sarah Roberts

Just a music lover, concert goer, book reader, cookie eater college student on a never-ending pursuit of discovery.

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