Bluebottle Kiss - Doubt Seeds
Given Bluebottle Kiss’ prolific history, the acclaim they’ve received (Steve Kilbey of The Church claims their new album is “Brilliant!”) and their commitment to touring, it is perhaps surprising that they have not established themselves firmly in everyone’s CD racks. Not to worry, because “Doubt Seeds”, a double album epic aimed at paying homage to the band’s influences, will surely be impossible to ignore. Upon first listen, you know this release is something special. By track 3 you are really getting excited. A few minutes later, and you are wondering where in your top 10 to fit Hutchings, Grounds, Dickie and Harrison and their latest work.
Nonzero Records’ Nick Carr provides the liner essay attempting to explain the premise of “Doubt Seeds”, and although he proclaims explaining music with text is futile, his thoughts are nonetheless helpful. He states that the album is a tip of the cap to such artists as John Coltrane, Big Star, Joy Division, Ornette Coleman, Tom Waits, The Church, Sonic Youth, Sly and the Family Stone, Midnight Oil, Slint and Van Morrison among others. Despite this, every track is distinctly Bluebottle Kiss.
Hutchings voice conveys emotion as well as any other, the songwriting is beautiful and simple, yet far from predictable, and the music is diverse in sound, rich, textured and enveloping. All tracks on the album were recorded in an entirely analogue studio, and the results are perfect; this album feels raw. The ideas form the basis of the songs, rather than some tricky sound engineering. The music is guitar, bass and drum structured, but includes such instruments as saxophone, trumpet, piano, harp, violin, flute and trombone. And no, skeptics, it doesn’t result in clutter. Each instrument simply adds a subtle touch where required, apart from the crescendos where the sound is utter chaos, as intended.
Lyrically, topics include love, life direction, facing demons, death and other cryptic content I can’t yet unpick, but look forward to hours of trying; this album is challenging if you want it to be. It is intense in parts, and it may take a while for less open minded listeners to warm up to, but surely they must. The mastery displayed in every component is undeniable. This album moves from Black Keys blues-rock, to Mars Volta electric breakouts, to Kings of Leon southern swagger. The dynamics displayed to cover such a broad spectrum are unique and highlight a rare mastery that demands respect. I can’t say any more without simply repeating myself more than I already have.
Do your self/neighbours/housemates/parents a favour. Buy this album. Don’t download it (the cover art is amazing so it’s worth it for the packaging), go to your local independent record store and get your hands on a copy because this sort of album comes out once in a blue moon. You’ll thank me as soon as you put it on.