Badd Lemon is a Seattle-based project masterminded by multi-instrumentalist Jessica Van Horn. Released in the tail-end of 2020, this debut EP is pretty much what I’d expect from someone named Jessica Van Horn; it’s got the grunge, it’s got the grime, and it’s got some other adjective that starts with the letter G. Taking inspiration from bands like Veruca Salt and Garbage, this seven-track release is a skilled blast from the past.
Badd Lemon eases into things with the song “Knocked Out,” a twinkly— at least when compared to the remainder of the EP— trudging opener. Things take a heavier turn on “Ruby Valentine,” a pummelling, fuzzed out track with some obvious pop sensibility. In addition to these aforementioned tunes, Badd Lemon is at its best on songs like “Flowers” and “Lavender,” both of which are great examples of the juxtaposition between Van Horn’s heavier instrumental leanings and soft vocal approach.
Now that I’ve hit my “aforementioned” and “juxtaposition” quota for this review, let’s get into the marks that this EP misses. The skinny of it is that I just found this EP to be a bit of a bore. I can’t fault Badd Lemon’s obvious love for the ‘90s grunge scene, but this debut reads more like a copy than it does an homage. I’m trying not to come off as one of those “grunge is dead” folks, but for me to get reallyinto a new release from the genre, it has to sound like a new release.
Badd Lemon is a well-performed throwback to the early ‘90s. If you’re looking to scratch the itch caused by bands like Hole or even Jack Off Jill, Badd Lemon is a band that should be on your radar. If you’re in the market for something that’s pushing the boundaries of grunge and alternative rock, however, you might be better off continuing your search.
Written by Justin Bruce
*Edited by Chris Aitkens