Badlands marks an album from a good group yet to record their best stuff.
The slight novelty that Trampled Under Foot is more or less a sibling act becomes less relevant once you hear them play. Badlands, the group's most high-profile release and its first on Telarc, collects a dozen of their contemporary blues cuts along with a remarkably worthwhile rendition of “It's a Man's Man's Man's World”. There's an R&B influence throughout, with a touch of '90s blues sounds, reminiscent at times of Johnny Lang, but often covering other ground, tending more toward blues-rock. The brothers-and-sister trio might be set up for some sibling rivalry, though, because as tight as they are as musicians, Danielle Schnebelen's vocals provide the album's highlights, and not just on their James Brown cover. Album opener “Bad Bad Feeling” gets right at her soulful side, but “Mary” lets her show off her flexibility with a little more character development. The group as a whole have a comfortable sound, but they're managing to create their own space, and Badlands marks an album from a good group yet to record their best stuff.