Dead Man’s Hand by Bad Flamingo
By Ron Powers
Bad Flamingo is composed of two nameless female members who wear Lone Ranger style masks and old school western-style clothing. They have the most mysterious and well-developed aesthetic I’ve seen in a band since the White Stripes. Like their image, the music of Bad Flamingo has a dark mystique. They wield the power of the blues with steely-eyed feminine power.
Songs do not get any cooler than their latest single “Dead Man’s Hand”. This song begins with a drum groove that feels something like a bandit rolling into town on his horse for a gun fight. The first lyrics are “I saw a lone tree with a murder of crows / I’ve been thinking about going down to Mexico.” These lines, along with the melody, mix with the drum groove and the magic spell that is this song begins to permeate the listener.
After the first verse ends, a sharply distorted guitar briefly bursts out and creates an exciting contrast as the song transitions into the dark chill vibe of the chorus. “Dead Man’s Hand” reveals Bad Flamingo as a band that knows exactly when to add and when not to add to their music. It’s not something you consciously grasp while listening, but going back over the track I’m struck by these young lady’s ability to express a feeling.
There is a unity in everything heard. Every element holds every other element and together expresses a single undeniably cool voice. One gets the feeling that every note and sound was lovingly chosen to hang on the walls of this exceptionally well decorated song. There’s something to please the ear at every turn. Whether it’s the sparce bass notes on the chorus, the single descending guitar synth sound that’s only heard once, or the Xylophone briefly introduced on the second verse, Bad Flamingo is always doing something interesting to capture your attention.
“Dead Man’s Hand” never varies from its original groove laid down at the start of the song. Variation in the music is established through the layering of different sounds. This is done with such smoothness you hardly realize what’s happening to you as you listen. There are not many moments during this song that jump out as if to say, “LOOK AND ME”. Instead, the band seduces you. Slowly adding or taking away layers of sound and melody as they bring the song to its effortless and satisfying completion.
The production quality of “Dead Man’s Hand” further adds to its appeal. There’s a gritty shine to the sound of this track. So much of what is heard has a pleasing saturated or distorted sound. However, echo effects are also generously applied which give the song a bit of sparkle. The vocal performances are another key ingredient. The topline and harmonies are delivered with a relaxed confidence and smoothness that contrasts nicely with some of the more aggressive sounds on the song.
In my eyes “Bad Flamingo” have little to no competition from today’s popular music. They are tigers among kittens. If you’d like to follow them you can find them at badflamingomusic.com, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you’d like to listen to their amazing music you can find them on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places music is streamed or sold.