Orange County’s the Lovely Bad Things immerse themselves in geeky pop culture on their full-length debut, The Late Great Whatever. First of all, there’s an image of Bigfoot on the front cover. And there are two songs here that reference Star Wars: “Kessel Run” and “Darth Lauren”. What’s more, there’s even a shout-out to the late wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage (“Randell the Savage”). So, if you’re a child of the ‘70s and ‘80s, you might find there’s a lot to take in with this band, one that is earning comparisons in the press to a skate-punk, West Coast version of the Pixies with its quiet-loud dynamics and male-female interplay vocals. And, on the surface, it’s not too shabby, with a couple of great songs that open the record (“Hear or Anywhere” and the very Pixies-ish “Fried Eyes”). The chimey “Rope Swing” is great, too.
However, there is a fault with the The Late Great Whatever that might get potential fans saying, well, whatever. As a lyric here goes, “It’s getting weird but it feels the same.” That’s right, this is the same or similar brand of garage-y punk already made famous by the likes of Male Bonding, Mazes, Vivian Girls, Brilliant Colors, Mrs. Magician and a host of others. So you’ll have to excuse me for growing tired or slightly fatigued by all of this: there’s not a whole lot here that really distinguishes itself from similar material. However, the Lovely Bad Things do their shtick fairly well, and there are some outstanding moments as outlined above. It’s also nice to see a band come along that the guys in The Big Bang Theory could probably get behind, if they were real. All that the Lovely Bad Things have to do now is hone their sound and take more risks, and do something that we haven’t heard before. So, this is not bad, and is actually pretty good at times, but … whatever.