Columbus pop-punk group Heroes Like Villains has released music before – check out Indientry’s review of their previous EP, Amends – but the band’s debut album, Bad vs Evil, was released on September 7, 2018, and represents a definite shift in Heroes Like Villains’ sound.
Where the band’s previous music was heavy and more punk than pop, this album is a little more lackluster. It seems as if Heroes Like Villains had aimed for a more lighthearted sound, but instead, it comes across as half-hearted.
That is not to say that the album is not catchy or skillful; the melody in “Calling Card” is about as appealing as they come on Bad vs Evil, and it clear that the band’s musicians are talented and good at what they do. But the tracks are missing a certain tension that keeps them moving. The album ambles along, a meandering pop-rock shuffle, but there is a startling lack of energy from the band who had released such a strong, punky EP as Amends.
The most solid songs on the album, in fact, are the ones that stray back towards the band’s previous music. Tracks like “Decidedly Indecisive” and “City on Fire” are faster-paced and carry an almost electric energy, breaking up the otherwise tedious record with a fire and intensity that was sorely missed from the other songs on the album.
Technically, the band is clearly skilled and their music is tight. Drum intros like the one on “To the Chest” and guitar riffs show talent, and the band’s vocalist proves to have an impressive range throughout the album. But the poppier sound represented on Bad vs Evil is lacking the drive, tension, and energy that powered the previous EP. The few songs that do return to that heavier sound are solid, however, and seem to be a better fit for the band overall.