The Melbourne five-piece deliver high energy, heavy riffs that have just enough spooky vibes to fit with a Halloween release.
Hard-hitting 90s inspired grunge has always been Bad Juju’s calling card since their formation in 2017, and on their new single ‘American Halloween’, the alt-rockers indulge everything from colourful guitar chords, emphatic drums and anthemic melodies to deliver a dark, modern masterpiece.
The follow up to their soaring release ‘In The Clouds’, the Melbourne-based five-piece channel the explosive energy their known for, honing in on darker, grunge soundscapes, bolstered by catchy hooks, big riffs, emphatic drums and driving basslines.
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Packing a punch with equal emphasis on the riffs and the vocal melody — both infectious, one not more than the other – the emotionally-charged track shifts between soaring strums and propelling grunge riffs, adding wistful nostalgia to the band’s self-assuring verses.
Deliver a full-sounding alternative punk rock anthem that draws influences from earlier Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Silverchair, alongside modern influences that take a nod to that of Trophy Eyes, ‘American Halloween’ slides down the audio gullet with ease.
Sporting a soaring refrain propelled by lead singer Russell Holland’s strident vocals wrapped up in a gorgeous 90s grunge aesthetic, ‘American Halloween’ is a tongue-in-cheek ode to the dark side of life, inspired by the band’s love of cheesy American slasher films.
“Russ lost his job at the start of lockdown 2020 and binged a lot of horror movies,” the band explain of the song’s origin.
“Matt [bass] had half-written a song and Russ was writing some vocal melodies over the top and the words that perfectly fit the melody were “American Halloween”. After that Russ filled the verses with a bunch of references to his favourite childhood horror movies.
There are a lot of nods to old school nostalgic horror in the song, for example, you’ll hear “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” (TV show), “The Boogeyman” (Michael Myers), “Crystal Lake” (Friday the 13th) and more.”
Directly inspired by these classic popcorn horror movies, the track centres on themes of self-acceptance and a carefree attitude towards life, embracing your weird side and learning to proudly ‘let your freak flag fly’, just like you would during an American-style Halloween.
“It’s basically the perfect time to express your weird side,” Russell says of American Halloween.
“This song is about being comfortable with who you are, and caring less about what people think and letting the freak out, and what better place to do it than an American-style Halloween.
“Growing up as a big horror fan, I always loved Halloween but no one really cared about it in Australia when I was a kid in the outer Melbourne suburbs. However, these days it seems to be gathering more and more interest here, which is sick! I grew up working at a friend’s family-run video store and we would always sneak home the R rated horror movies and we had sleepovers with friends to watch them. It brings back good memories of those times with friends, scaring the crap out of each other and laughing our faces off.”
Dark and moody while simultaneously empowering, the track is fantastic, loud, inspired, and impactful.
With skills for creating well balanced, experimental, and well-paced tracks with just the right amount of balance to production and rawness, Bad Juju has crafted something truly magnificent with the help of a dream team in producer Callan Orr (Dream On Dreamer, Young Lions), Malcolm Besley (North East Party House, Slowly Slowly) for mixing and mastering, with additional drum engineering by Beau McKee (Between You & Me, Closure in Moscow).
Accompanying the track, the band has released an infectiously fun, quirky music video, featuring images of famous horror movie alumni, which solidifies the release as a beacon for any alternative fan that has feared comfort in being one’s self. It’s pure art and arrives just in time for the end of the spooky season.
Check it out below, ahead of the song’s official release on Friday.
Bad Juju will launch both ‘American Halloween’ and ‘In The Clouds’ for their hometown fans at Melbourne’s Stay Gold on Saturday, December 18, marking a long-awaited return to the stage following Victoria’s swathe of lockdowns over the past two years.
“We didn’t have much luck over the last two years when it came to timing shows against lockdown periods! I think we had like 10 or so cancellations!
“Our show in December will be our first since January 2020, which is insane to think about. We can’t wait to play. We feel like we’ve grown so much in the last two years as a band and we are so ready to play again.”
If you’ve ever caught these guys live, you know you won’t want to miss it. Expect stupendous amounts of ear candy; you’re definitely full. ‘American Halloween’ drops on Friday, October 29 2021. You can purchase tickets to the gig here.