Bad Books: Lame Poetry and Bumper Sticker Wisdom

Bad Books, an indie-folk ensemble featuring Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and Robert McDowell alongside singer-songwriter Kevin Devine, recently teased the band’s first album in seven years with bad music, plus a fun palette cleanser that hopefully represents future releases.

I try not to knock music harshly if I’m clearly not in its target audience, but “Lake House” simply sounds like a lame poetry reading interrupted by occasional flourishes of electric guitar. To be fair, “I Love You, I’m Sorry, Please Help Me, Thank You” delivers the indie-folk goods, with its wordy title serving as “some bumper sticker wisdom while you’re walking the plank.” That’s quirky as all get-out, but so is John Prine. Most snickering at that “lame poetry” take love prime Prine. It’s smart as a whip and should appeal to a wide range of listeners, while “Lake House” sounds like something your friends’ asshole stepsons already have in heavy rotation.

New album III arrives digitally June 14 and as a physical release via Loma Vista Recordings on June 21.

Photo by Brian Manley.