Californian collaborators Aaron Mort and Sami Akbari continue to defy definitions with their music as The Bad Years. Following on from last year’s double A-Side debut single, the LA based duo are back with their inaugural EP, Beautiful Liar. Mixing together elements of pop, rock, R ‘N’ B and jazz among others, the four track compilation cements this pair’s reputation as one of the most fascinating acts around.
It begins with its title track, as an arresting riff burns slowly towards a relaxed harmony in the opening verse. From here, it wanders into a resonant and absorbing chorus that echoes through the air, making a lasting impression. It’s a rather busy and steadily paced pop/rock piece with a delightfully alternative sound that gets things off a flying start.
“Pieces” follows upon a slow and serene melody which strolls unconcernedly into a relaxed and reserved refrain. Some lackadaisical but utterly enthralling guitar work is interspersed throughout, backed up by consistently pleasant percussion. It all amounts to a fun and funky offering, whose chilled out ambience is extremely alluring.
The mellow and moving duet that introduces “Giving Up” grows into a captivating chorus, combining with loud and affective instrumentation to make a powerful impact. There’s a very smooth amalgamation of acoustic and electric elements, culminating in an incredibly rousing riff that leads the way to the finish line in fine fashion.
A restrained but riveting verse guides “After Me” towards an amazingly infectious chorus. The energetic instrumentation and irresistible melody keep things constantly active and exciting, while the excellently executed guitars in particular bring the proceedings to a thrilling conclusion.
There’s really nothing negative to be said about this record. The Bad Years have crafted one of the most singularly invigorating and engrossing pieces of work to have hit this year so far. Its exhilarating instrumentation, haunting harmonies and overall laid back attitude make Beautiful Liar essential listening for all. Check it out now on iTunes.