Minneapolis natives Bad Bad Hats released their sophomore album, ‘Lightning Round,’ on August 3. The new album takes us deeper into the mind and heart of lead vocalist and lyricist Kerry Alexander as she leads us on a bittersweet journey. Alexander of course, is accompanied by band mates Chris Hoge and Connor Davison, who are eager to amplify her thoughts with perfectly sentimental melodies.
Recorded live, the album’s sound mirrors Alexander’s raw lyrics as her thoughts ebb and flow with a natural cadence. While Alexander’s vocals dance along a line of innocence, there is a subtle allure to the album as we peel back its many layers of self-reflection and desire. Along the way, Alexander examines the different stages of relationships, and as the album develops, the lyrics shift from certainty to uncertainty and back again.
Alexander starts off in familiar territory with the pillow-soft and dreamy opener “Makes Me Nervous,” a sentimental tune that ushers us in with honest and witty lyrics. Alexander allows us to observe her own vulnerability as she lays out her perspective.
“Write It On Your Heart” continues with Alexander’s emotional appeal. It’s not a plea, rather an honest and raw declaration about her predicament and is self-reflective of love in a way only a woman can reflect.
Throughout the album, songs range from joys of desire to the pangs of unrequited love. “Get What I Want” focuses on the latter, but its tone is more playful than sad. There is no remorse at losing, just a slight exasperation from repeating patterns.
“I’m still dreaming of your face / And all my feelings gone to waste / Cause even though I know it’s true / I can’t be in love with you, no / Can I get what I want this time?,” Alexander sings.
Other songs on the album feel slow and hollow as they float along without any apparent direction. That is to their benefit though, as is the case with “1-800,” a slow tune that seems to aimlessly saunter in over saturated light.
Although the emotions portrayed in this album swirl about relentlessly, ‘Lightning Round’ is not without acumen. Alexander’s lyrics are sharp and tactical, never mincing words or wasting time. In “Nothing Gets Me High” and “Automatic,” Alexander admits to her own flaws and is as honest as she can be with someone, even though it’s not quite what they would like to hear.
Alexander’s lyrical prowess is best demonstrated in “365,” the album’s closing track that is both unassuming and brilliant. Slow and with purpose, the song counts back from the present to reflect on the changes felt in a year. Alexander can’t see into the future, but she can look back to explain the moment she is currently in.
Throughout the album, there is a playful dance between opposite emotions as it finds its partners weaving in and out of synchronicity. Bad Bad Hats have a knack of knowing how to mix the emotions one feels when young and in love, and Alexander’s lyrics are able to translate the right amount of pain and soften it with a sentimental overlay.
‘Lightning Round’ is the perfect follow up to the band’s debut LP and shows not only a maturity, but a willingness to explore new ways or recording music to find the right sound. To listen to Bad Bad Hats’ new album, visit their website.