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Bad Static

Bad Static explore sweet-and-sour duality on "Cherry Cyanide" EP

Hey, did you know you can get poisoned and maybe even die from eating too many cherry pits? Well neither did I, that is, until hearing the new Bad Static EP Cherry Cyanide released today. Because, as hinted at in the title, cherry pits contain a chemical that once ingested gets converted into the toxic compound hydrogen cyanide. The more you know!

But this EP isn't a science lesson, instead it taps into the longstanding status of cherries as a metaphoric device. So it makes sense Cherry Cyanide is a concept album (erm, concept EP) based around the notion that some things (or even people) in life may be sweet on the outside but then turn out to be not-so-sweet on the inside if not downright toxic. Take the EP’s eponymous opening song, for instance, which starts with a familiar three-chord major-key progression that sounds like the band’s about to launch into a fun-loving cover version of “Louie Louie” or “Wild Thing” or “Walking on Sunshine.” 

But then there's a sudden shift when the drums kick in alongside a low-key menacing minor-key descending guitar riff, and lyrics about how you’ll soon be “foaming at the mouth / oh there is no doubt / my cherry cyanide / will make you wanna die.” Meaning when the chorus returns to those major chords from before with entreaties to “Kiss me! Kiss me!” and “Drink me! Drink me!” you may have second thoughts given what you’ve learned about cherry pit consumption and the consequences of fatal kisses even though the “bittersweet ending” is still tempting and it's this seductive-yet-dangerous vibe that the song really captures. The more you know!

And speaking of surface prettiness/inner menace it’s fitting the Cherry Cyanide press release namechecks bands like the Runaways and the lesser-known Anemic Boyfriends as influences–the latter being an underage Anchorage-based early ‘80s punk rock trio (!) led by one “Louise Disease” whose über-bratty, sneering leering delivery is appropriate to her moniker–because here are two bands who used surface prettiness to get a foot in the door in order to kick your teeth in with their take-no-prisoners ‘tude and music, a strategy used by many female rock musicians past and present to fight the frequent sexism of rock audiences and the music industry (except for “emerging artist music blogs” which are hardly part of the "industry" and always enlightened!) plus either way it’s pretty cool to be a glamorous savage no matter your gender.

The next song “Ectoplasm Nightmares” continues this theme of inner/outer duality–except the narrative perspective is switched to that of the victim–with lyrics about being possessed by an outside presence, i.e., “feeling haunted by people from your past and going to drastic measures to try and forget.” Bad Static put this across musically by starting off with a plodding beat and doomy Sabbath-y sorta riff before kicking into a driving double-time rhythm with lyrical pleas for demonic exorcism and warnings of crumbling sanity before lead singer Nicol Maciejewska (whose vocals up to this point alternate between sedated and sneering) tops off the song with a growling “you’re making me go insaaaaane!” and a burst of crazy-kookoo-train manic laughter as the music disintegrates behind her.

The third-and-final song “Reanimation” is inspired by necromancy with “little whispers building up inside…calling you from the gra-a-a-ave” and here again the narrative perspective changes, but this time switching to the entity or entities haunting the narrator in the previous song, which is a neat way to put across the loss of a grounded, singular perspective that’s inherent to some forms of mental illness (and to modern art natch) which is another theme of the song and again the music nails the vibe cuz I've got scenes from Evil Dead playing in my head when this plays.

And this one's the most Runaways-esque of the bunch with its throbbing power chords and stuttering vocal delivery (from “ch-ch-cherry bomb” to “I’ve been calling you from the gra-a-a-ave”) and one can only hope that the galvanizing musical presentation here by Nicol (vox, rhythm guitar) Kelsie (backing vox, bass) Mario (lead guitar, production) and Demetrio (drums, percussion) and the not-so-subliminal mantra of “reanimate me!” don't lead to an epidemic of children playing with dead things despite the PSA message contained in the opening lyric. (Jason Lee)

Bad Static bruise you like a "Peach" on debut single

The small fuzzy fruit known to English-speakers as a peach, with its sweet rainbow-hued juicy flesh and its alarmingly large seeds, has an interesting history when it comes to its use as a symbol in literature and elsewhere. For J. Alfred Prufrock, the question of whether to eat a peach leads to an existential crisis in one the most famous poems ever written. In Chinese mythology, peaches are the literal “fruit of the gods” bestowing longevity to immortals thanks to their mystical virtue. And on Instagram, peach emojis are a concise way of saying to someone that they have a nice ass.

But enough about the teaches of peaches. We’re here to discuss Bad Static’s debut single, simply called “Peach.” In this song, Bad Static tap into the oft-implied association of the peach with both femininity and vulnerability, which are not associated but are often assumed to be. But rest assured you won't make that mistake here because Bad Static is clearly anything but vulnerable.

The cover image of “Peach” depicts a peach (no surprise there) that appears to be bleeding. with a large bloodied butcher knife directly behind it sitting in a pool of blood. And while PJ Harvey once described being “Happy and Bleeding” it seems like here any potential happiness is being impeded by some dude (assumed) who’s looking for a “kitten” and a “baby doll” to whom Bad Static reply: “Don’t fuck with me / I’ll bruise you like a peach.”


This is a compelling turnabout from traditional peach imagery where it’s usually the woman identified as the vulnerable “peach” and even in PJ Harvey’s “Happy and Bleeding” there a few lines describing how “the fruit was bruised / dropped off and blue / out of season / happy I’m bleeding long overdue.” And while we’re probably talking about two different forms of bleeding here, it’s still notable how Bad Static turn the tables on their attempted oppressors (and on the standard symbology) where they are the ones “waiting to attack / scratching down your back.”

On the musical side of things, Bad Static create a peachy compliment to their message with a musical vibe that's basically like Pleasure Seekers meets X-Ray Spex (the vocals are especially Poly Styrene-ish) with a dash of Runaways for good measure that builds to a climactic sonic vortex over a chant of “thrill me, kill me / on your knees please. And they do it all in a tidy two minutes and five seconds, and truly nothing says punk rawk more than a two minute long song about fruit and blood and "don't fuck with me" and empowerment. (Jason Lee)

photo credit: Max D'Amico


The four members of Bad Static were kind enough to answer a few inane questions cooked up in the middle of the night when The Deli was admittedly maybe possibly a bit inebriated and here’s a selection of their responses to said questions:

Very intelligent question posed by The Deli: What rock academy did you guys attend to learn how to rock so hard?

Kelsie Williams (bassist and singer): "The rock academy of your mom ( insert theme )”
Its My Rock and Im Ready to Roll Academy
The Anxious, Depressed and Overdressed Academy for the Elite Rockers of Rollers

Very intelligent question posed by The Deli: The song “Peach” ends with a refrain of “thrill me kill me / on your knees please.” By this we assume you mean to say that the addressee is the “bee’s knees” in so many words. Who do you consider to be the bee’s knees for yourself personally whether it’s a personal hero, or an admired musician, or whatever?

Nicol Maciejewska (singer and guitarist): That section of the song is about cheap thrills and asserting your dominance on those that try to dominate women.

I really like Patti Smith! She’s and great writer and musician. I inspire to do something along those lines. I also really like Kathleen Hanna and how she was one of the pioneers of the riot grrrl movement by creating her zine Bikini Kill and then later starting a kick ass band under that name.

Very intelligent question posed by The Deli:  What’s your favorite method for bruising oppressors (or just plain jerks) either physically or mentally or both?

Ryan Kevett (lead guitarist): Favorite method for bruising oppressors is nihilistic flatulence

Very intelligent question posed by The Deli:  When your VH-1 “Behind the Music” episode premieres in 20 years or so from now, what will be the worst story that a roadie or other associate can tell on you?

Demetrio Abikkaram-Ricardo (drummer):  [REDACTED]


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