The Bawdies skirt the fine line between good retro throwback and grating gimmick. They make no bones about their “vintage” noise, the sort of rock ‘n’ roll that seems appropriate for an old timey soda shop…or at least a Johnny Rockets…and ride that sound for all it’s worth. Rounded out by a lead singer more wolf than human, The Bawdies certainly standout in the world of J-Rock and have a handful of great tunes to their credit. Yet this non-shaking devotion to the Happy Days aesthetic sometimes comes off like a Halloween costume stubbornly worn into early December, a few laughs still left in it but ultimately you want to see something different.
New single “Red Rocket Ship” doesn’t blast The Bawdies into any new sonic direction, but it also ends up a catchy number firmly entrenched in the “same sound, but charming enough that I’m OK with this” category. This track goes down smoothly, not as aggressive as these guys can get but with plenty of jog in it. The vocals also aren’t nearly as screechy on “Red Rocket Ship” as on other Bawdies track, lead singer Roy still sounding raspy but not doing anything that makes you want to hand him a throat lozenge. Even the video comes off as wholly pleasant, a Scooby-Do-ish number full of doors leading to the same place and spinning camera. It can’t last forever, but “Red Rocket Ship” proves The Bawdies can bleed this leather-jacket-wearing stone a bit dryer and it’s all good. Listen below.