A review of garage rock trio BAD DOD's debut album Yikes!
BAD DOD’s Yikes is unadulterated, pure rock goodness. The Singaporean trio’s debut album is a tight, hard-hitting love letter to its garage rock and grunge influences; chock-full of contagious energy, inspired songwriting and a healthy dose of self-awareness underneath it’s no-fucks-given exterior. Clocking in at 24 minutes, it’s an exhilarating listen that never overstays its welcome. And to top it off, it sounds like a band just having a whole lot of fun.
BAD DOD is a 3-piece Singaporean garage rock band consisting of guitarist Prahlad Prabhas, bassist Terence Nathanael, and drummer Williem Siddik. What initially started as beer-fueled jamming sessions to let lose on the weekends has now evolved into easily one of Singapore’s most exciting rock acts.
From right to left: guitarist Prahlad Prabhas, bassist Terence Nathanael, and drummer Williem Siddik.
Following an impressive string of packed shows starting in 2019 with their debut at Vans Musicians Wanted (which they won and earned themselves a trip down to Chicago to play at the House of Vans), BAD DOD spent 6 months putting together Yikes! at Wong Ah Boy’s legendary TNT Studios.
Both guitarist Prahlad and drummer Williem take turns on lead vocals and harmonies throughout the album, both bringing strong vocal performances and unique characteristics that really come together to compliment each other.
Opening track FIGHT as a masterclass in riff rock songwriting, and sets the stage for the the rest of the atomic fuzz-laden, mosh-inciting runtime. Tracks Feel Nothing Yet and Outta My Brain in particular highlight BAD DOD’s acute pop sensibilities and penchant for writing infectious hooks without diminishing any of its pummelling drive or heavy riffage, making for well-crafted songwriting that’s consistent throughout the album.
BAD DOD isn’t afraid of some self-deprecating humour either, be it on the chugging RANDOMORON (“we are one/two/three motherfuckin’ embarrassment”), or the absurd Lost An Erection (self-explanatory).Their tongue-in-cheek and over the top lyricism sprinkled throughout the album’s frenetic runtime imbue the album with a sense of levity and fun.
Some of Yikes!’s best moments come from the band not taking themselves too seriously. Highlights being Badman (“Badman getting raped! In the mouth, in the ear. Robin just stood there. Robin didn’t care. Robin just stood there with a smartphone!”) and Lost An Erection (again, self-explanatory). The juxtaposition of both sombre, almost introspective riffs and chugging bangers against the absurdity of its lyrics make moments like these on the album a surreal wonder to behold.
Drummer Williem Siddik pounding away on the kit during SHINY Festival.
Ascended is a standout track and my personal favourite song on Yikes! with a slow burning, reserved blues-punk riff and lyrics that evoke eccentric, twitchy imagery (“I open up your brain, I lick it twice, he said ‘Thank you come again.’”) all culminating in an extremely satisfyingly unhinged outro with angst-ridden cathartic screams (“Don’t tell me what to do!”).
me gusta sounds like it could be an unreleased Nirvana rarity, with the best elements from the band being emulated tastefully. From its Novoselic-esque basslines, vocal harmonies, a simple melodically driven solo, and even down to its nihilistic lyricism that would feel right at home on any Nirvana record (“She won’t save me from this hole. It’s ok, I like it! She won’t kiss me anymore. It’s ok, I like it!”).
geezer is a mostly serviceable closing track that unfortunately lacks some of the punch and intensity present on Yikes! despite its frantic pace and solid vocal interplay. To its credit it does leave listeners wanting more.
Overall, Yikes! doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel but instead opts to use the groundwork laid out by the likes of Nirvana, The Vines and Jay Reatard for an album that’s a masterclass in garage rock songwriting and performance.
Listen to Yikes! here: