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Bluebottle Kiss - Revenge Is Slow

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 3 / 9 / 2003

Bluebottle Kiss - Revenge Is Slow
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


Genreless, and totally unique and original guitar rock from Australian four piece. Bluebottle Kiss

This is the fourth full-length album form this Australian four-piece band. I have to admit that it’s the first I’ve heard of them. On first listen I was pleasantly surprised; this was the first album I’ve heard in a long time where the bands’ influences weren’t immediately obvious. The first track, ‘Fathers Hands’, is an acoustic ballad with affecting big, deep guitar touches and the band’s sound is added to with some beautiful piano by singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer Jamie Hutchings' sister Sophie and pedal steel by Dave Orwell from fellow Laughing Outlaw labelmates Golden Rough. There’s an aching, melancholic sound to Hutchings’ vocals especially on this opening track and the following ‘Ounce Of Your Cruelty’ which is another acoustic based ballad. Lyrics such as “Found out some things that I shouldn’t have but I oughtta, keep it quiet now it’s tapping on my shoulder” from ‘Fathers Hands’ keep up the interest and mystery and when coupled with the gorgeous melody which the song rides on it makes me wonder why it has taken so long for this band to come to my attention. It’s always good (and sometimes a bit lazy) to mention what influences come to mind when writing about a band when heard for the first time. But I really can’t this time. After half a dozen listens I could hear traces of certain artists but I wonder if this was more due to the fact that I did some research into the band, as they were a new name to me. In a way I wish I hadn’t checked out what others thought of them. I saw references to (and get this) Coldplay; at a push maybe, but surely this was down to just 2 or 3 tracks on the album and then I wouldn’t have heard the likeness if it wasn’t pointed out to me. David Bowie (What?) Wilco (Can’t see it), Metallica (Oh, come on now,) Big Star and so on. I think to be fair to Bluebottle Kiss what we have to say is that they make a unique sound which is entirely their own. The sounds they make are original throughout all the 12 songs on offer and for that we should thankful. How many albums do you hear these days that are captivating from the first song and offer up something different without the band’s influences showing through at every turn? ‘Hello Stranger’ which comes in around half way through the album has a laid back jazzy feel to it but also comes complete with harp and ‘female operatic vocals’ is quite unlike anything I’ve heard all this year (or any other come to that) and is simply breathtakingly brilliant! Again, it’s practically impossible to compare it to anything that has gone before. It's an experiment that works and I, for one would be happy to hear more in this vein. The best songs on the album are the slower, more thoughtful ones; ‘Hitchhiking In New Zealand’ is another acoustic based melodic song boosted with viola and cello before the electric guitars come in towards the end of the track. This is a typical example of what makes the album so interesting. From gentle acoustic beginnings the song ends on a nagging electric guitar riff while Hutchings, buried deep in the mix, repeats over and over “I remember I was running, I was running too fast” to great effect. ‘Hasten The Blows’ is another unusual song, one of the few where vocally a comparison could be made, this time to Elvis Costello, but as Hutchings swops vocals line by line with bassist Ben Fletcher, there are only flashes of the Costello vocal sound. Again the basic four-piece band are helped out with viola and cello. It’s takes in a lot of twists and turns, the guitar heavy chorus being particularly catchy and the percussion in the verses by drummer Richard Coneliano really adding to the disturbing overall feel of the track. If you want to try something original and in a field of it’s own while still retaining some structure to the songs then give Bluebottle Kiss a listen. One listen to the atmospheric soundscape of ‘Prussian Blue’ will have you wanting more of the same.

Track Listing:-
1 Father's Hands
2 Once of Your Cruelty
3 Last Cinema
4 Hasten the Blows
5 Prussian Blue
6 Let the Termites Eat Our Riches
7 Hello Stranger
8 Hitchhiking in New Zealand
9 Pee Wee's Dream
10 Gangsterland
11 Invent the Summer
12 Love as Fiction

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