Bad Planning - Lifetime (Cover Artwork)

Bad Planning

Lifetime (2016)


 I’ve never reviewed anything out of my own scene, for fear that my opinions on its music would be corrupted by the relationships I’ve formed with its bands, but every once in awhile, I come across something too good to not share. Barrington’s Bad Planning encapsulates the best that emotive skate punk has to offer: infectious energy, tight lyrics, and an ear for catchy melodies.

I’ll just start by addressing the elephant in the room: the production on this thing is goddawful. The kick is mixed to the forefront and often obscures the bass for anyone not specifically focusing in on it. This is most noticeable on the instrumental closer, “No Whey” where its constant pounding is blown out, consuming the all of the other instruments. The rest of the album isn’t impossible to listen to or anything, but the very cheap production doesn’t quite fit the style they’re going for.

But what Bad Planning lacks in fidelity, they more than make up for in compositional proficiency. This is band that wears its influences on its sleeve, but that’s not to say that it's devoid of original ideas or creativity by any stretch. The main four tracks (I consider “No Whey” to be more of a tacked on bonus jam) are catchy and just feel very slick on a compositional level.

The opener, “Poison”, may be the best example of the band’s expert craftsmanship; everything about this song just works so well. The verses cruise along, but are melodically dynamic enough to stay engaging, and the chorus is the definition of an earworm.

From that bombastic entry point, Bad Planning immediately slows things down on the record’s most restrained cut, “Cold Showers”. The first half of “Cold Showers” gives off a very strong Maybe I’ll Catch Fire vibe, before breaking into an anthemic reprisal. While some of the lyrical chops on “Cold Showers” come off as a bit cliched, the dynamic nature of the instrumental more balances that out.

“Jersey’s Pine Barrens” is the EP’s other major highlight and its use of harmonies and backing vocals drives it home. They’re used sparingly, but effectively to round out the edges of these melodies. I feel like this exhibits the EP’s instrumental synergy. Every musician works seamlessly with the next, adding just enough flare to keep things interesting, without making it feel bloated. This is a band that is able to effectively collaborate and feed off of each other.

And now we reach the EP’s spiritual closer, the title track. “Lifetime” is the most upbeat and high-octane single on this album. Once again, the backing vocals really help to carry the pre choruses and the outro during the solo has somewhat of an early Rancid feel to it. This track is a skatepunk banger and feels truly timeless.

Bad Planning is truly one of, if not my definitive favorite local act and this EP deserves so much more attention. Lifetime is Barrington’s hidden gem and is sure to be a hit among fans of bands like Alkaline Trio, Kid Dynamite, and, of course, Lifetime.