Bad Veins is the Cincinnati-based indie-music duo of singer-songwriter-guitarist Ben Davis and drummer Sebastien Schultz, which released its critically acclaimed (but commercially flopped) debut album in 2009. An EP with more songs from those sessions followed in early 2011. Since then the band has changed labels, and forged ahead. Now finally comes the band's eagerly awaited second album.
"The Mess We've Made" (10 tracks; 42 min.) kicks off with 2 of its most immediately accessible songs, the irresitable "Don't Run" (which could/should be a single), and an equally upbeat "Nursery Rhyme". There was nothing so outright pop-like on the band's debut album, that's for sure. "If Then" is a more introspective tune, with singer-songwriter Ben Davis crooning "I am the silence/You are the marching band/I am the sleep/You are the wonderland". The fist half of the album closes with another great stomper, "Child". The second half of the album kicks off with "Doubt", a reflective tune. The album's second half indeed is much more subdued, although it does contain the poppy sing-along "Dancing On TV" (reminding me of "Warm and Gold" from the first album). The album's closer is a curious "Not Like You", featuring trumpets upfront, and sounding a bit out of place.
In all, this is a very enjoyable album pretty much from start to finish. I personally perfer the straight-forward "pop" songs, which are simply irresistable. Given the disappointing sales of the first album, I have no idea if they can break through with this album, I sure hope they will. I've seen these guys countless times over the years in concert in many different places around Cincinnati, and they never fail to put on an entertaining show (along with "Iris", the reel-to-reel tape player which is the unofficial third member of the band). I saw them again this past weekend, at one of the several CD relase shows they played around town. Bottom line: "The Mess We've Made" is highly recommended!