ButchQueen & The Bad Habits
Punk music is typically created to inspire either change or chaos. Many punk rockers use the genre’s simple structure and accessibility to send progressive messages with the intent of making tomorrow better than today. Then there’s ButchQueen & the Bad Habits. Their latest EP, Bare Grits, is a collection of songs which is happy to lean on punk tropes, have attitude for attitudes sake, but does nothing to move along a scene which has become stagnant over the last decade.
The music on Bare Grits is very listenable despite ButchQueen & the Bad Habits’s lazy song structures and lack of strong messages. The drums and bass are pulsing while the guitars have a tasteful amount of distortion and often break into screaming solos. The band is clearly made up of skilled musicians, including singer Fredi X. The rasp and bass in X’s voice fits perfectly in the aggressive mix. However, song structures which are so tired they border on plagiarism bog Bare Grits down. Structures which are so tired they border on plagiarism bog Bare Grits down Whether these similarities are odes to their predecessors, or simple oversights is questionable. If the band wanted to salute their predecessors, they should have made it clear that they were doing so. If the songwriting is merely unoriginal, the band may be in for some legal trouble if they gain notoriety.
Juvenile lyrics also afflict Bare Grits. The poetry reads like that of a rebellious middle schooler, attempting to cover topics they’ve yet to fully comprehend like sexuality and philosophy. The lyrics get so cringeworthy at points that the typically unfortunate muddy nature of dueling vocal tracks on “No Matter What They Say,” is actually appreciated. This track is a standout on the EP with its driving tempo and impressive vocal performance, which makes it much more of a shame that lousy writing weighs it down. The title track, “Bare Grits,” is by far the EP’s poetic low point. Its lyrics sound like they were read straight off of the inside of a bathroom stall; they won’t shock the listener but merely make them roll their eyes.
ButchQueen & the Bad Habits’s potential is apparent and we can only hope the band lives up to it. They have clearly all worked hard in learning their instruments, but somewhere along the way forgot to pursue the mastery of poetry. If they take the time to study some of the great lyricists, philosophers, and even punk rock legends, they could become a force to be reckoned with. However, many punks don’t fare well with criticism, and it is very possible that the band continues on the boneheaded path they’ve taken to with Bare Grits.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: BUTCHQUEEN & THE BAD HABITS – BARE GRITS