Bad Folk released its long-awaited sophomore record online a few weeks ago, but unfortunately, the quintet no longer exists: It broke up late last year before releasing Part of the Problem. The split is a shame, because Problem nicely captures the band's progression from a shambling folk ensemble to one that lets its frayed edges show without letting its songs unravel. Musical flaws have always been part of Bad Folk's charm, mainly because most of the band learned their instruments on the job. However, Problem's stylistic range shows how the group has coalesced over the past few years. The Mudhoney stomp of "Debt" and the Pogues-gone-country of "War Is the Health of the State" all but remove Bad Folk from the alt-country ghetto, while "Bugs" finds singer/guitarist Tim Rakel finally shaking off the endless Jay Farrar comparisons. Bad Folk's spirit lives on — its members continue to play around town in other projects such as the May Day Orchestra — but the record is a fine, if premature, farewell to the band.
Problem is available at www.lala.com.
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