February 15, 2020

The song Glass Mountain would grace any Eagles album without a doubt.

Marty and The Bad Punch is certainly an original name for a band and one got me curious about what music to expect. Guitars and all writing credits go to one Martin Punsch, a German I believe, and hence the origin of the band’s name. Despite his probable Teutonic origins, Marty produces a transatlantic sounding AOR set. 

The first three songs basically set out the stall for the three different types of songs we’ll hear on the album. Walk A Straight Line gets things going in an upbeat way with an irresistibly catchy hook line. It’s pure AOR. Glass Mountain is much more in a country style with lots of nice vocal harmonies that sound like the Eagles in the vein of Take It Easy.  The third song, Universe, is a much more rocky affair, again with a catchy hook line. Of these three types of songs, my view is that it is the country/Eagles style that the band succeeds best at. The aforementioned song Glass Mountain would grace any Eagles album without a doubt. The Last Song and Feels Like Heaven are other excellent tracks in this style.  The AOR category is also well represented by tracks such as Standing On The Edge and Zakopane which was a number one hit in Poland apparently! The rockier affairs are the least convincing and least original set for me.  I should say that when I say “rockier” I mean in the pleasant style of Foreigner or Styx rather than anything genuinely heavy. Pleasant is the appropriate adjective here too since songs like My Demons (which benefits from a guest appearance by Bruce Kulick, ex-Kiss  and Grand Funk Railroad on lead guitar) are enjoyable but hardly memorable. Only Raging Fire, with its Little Steven overtones, really engaged me.

I was also surprised to see that this is a double vinyl album – ambitious for a group that up to now has only released one album, 2014’s Moon Over Baskerville –  but also rare in the AOR market. It is a short double album – a touch over 70 minutes – and suspiciously includes two throwaway instrumentals and even more bizarrely the last track entitled “Walk A Straight Line – the Making Of” where we get a little description of which instruments are playing on the track and then a repeat of the opening song itself. This reminds me of ELO’s Out Of The Blue which contains some classic material but stretched to a double album on the back of throwaway songs like The Whale and Birmingham Blues (apologies to any ELO fans out there who actually like those two songs!). Why Marty would try a similar trick just to make it to a double vinyl length is beyond me but it’s a real shame because if you just took the top ten songs on this album then you’d have a tremendously enjoyable single album. Despite this little gripe, there’s still plenty of quality AOR here to satisfy aficionados of the genre.