Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
They are but two, however, Bad Veins does not operate as anything resembling a shorthanded crew - skeleton and weak. They don't work with the premonition of leaving spaces blank or up for discussion. They don't allow themselves to sound like anything short of a multi-handed miracle that believes in company, in a support group to pull its achievements off. Benjamin Davis and Sebastien Schultz consort with a reel-to-reel tape machine when they perform live, the machine playing backing tracks that they don't have enough hands to pull off. Schultz mans his drum kit and Davis controls the keys, distorted guitars and even more distorted, but luxuriously thick and tasty vocals.
It makes for an effect that melds man and machine as they wear their requisite Army green outfits, a habit that they started long ago and have since taken so far that they feel there's no way that they can stop doing it now. They are a two-piece, playing live with a machine, but it's not really that assistance that makes the Cincinnati band a bigger presence than it is visibly and audio-ly. They make loud sounds when they play live, throwing little thimbles of gasoline onto a Strokes-y fire, playing the kind of easy tumbling garage rock songs that are just marinated with all of the sweet juices of casual melodies, the kinds that get composed in brief flashes but sound as if they took years and years to think up - so beautiful and sharp are they.
These songs sound about as simple as they come, familiar even, until you realize that something this easy takes either a lot of work or some otherworld talent that does not come along with the fruit and intuition in every songwriter's welcome basket. If it's not the helping hand of the atmosphere-making machine that fills the space, what is it? The response that dawns on you is only reached when you get a chance to hear their electric songs relayed and recast as these poignant slow jams that feel like five o'clock shadows and notes of care and adoration from someone in particular, someone who looks at you as if you were without proper caption, without a suitable measure of cherishment. Where it comes from, there's no telling, but even when Davis is singing a tale about his girlfriend accidentally pushing him down the stairs to his fatal end in a dream sequence, it's almost as if he's still got a lot of love to throw her way.
These songs - underneath all of the bedding of electronics, windy fuzz and inspired instrumentation - are heartbreakers, looking to connect with people on levels that go beyond what those plain old standard songs look to do. The melodies that Davis floats into the middles of the songs that will appear on a debut album that's just receiving its final touches after a lengthy process are textbook hooks that leave you crushed and thinking about them dreamily for hours on end, bringing them back to your lips actively and lovingly until they feel like they're yours. You get so attached to the lines that he sings in such a cool and collected manner on stunner "Fake Baby" - about escapism and devotion. He sings about the assurance that his girl can just blindly trust that she can count on him and then continues, "No matter how hard this world may be/I've got you fake…baby." The way that he sings the words, as if he wants the air to be haunted with closeness, with a brush of a palm against a cheek, reminds one of just how delicate most songs can be in their infinite truth. Davis and Schultz, even in their short time together, have excelled in their first collection of tunes, making such noticeable works of art that transcend themselves, that work without hoopla or an obligation to give anything more. They are out of breath.
Bad Veins Official Site