Here’s a new band for you – Pottery. What is a Pottery? Somewhere between Holy Fuck and Squid, dancing through the ages with The Rapture’s moves from post punk to krautrock via psychedelia is what. It’s a promising list of ingredients. But does the end result live up to the recipe?
From the opening rapid drum break of ‘Welcome to Bobby’s Motel’, to the last chord of ‘Hot Like Jungle’, it’s a lively affair.
Welcome to Bobby’s Motel is based around band ‘in-joke’ of the character of Bobby and a fictional motel. I have to admit that if I didn’t know about the concept in advance it would have totally passed me by. The only clue is how one song flows seamlessly into the next, forming a cohesive whole, rather than simply a collection of individual songs. It seems more like a philosophy, an outlook on life, rather than a true concept album. Nevertheless, Bobby’s Motel seems like a fun place. You might not get much sleep, but that’s not why you came, right?
This is the sort of album I would have gone mad for if it had emerged in the mid-00s. But after being scarred by many an average album purchase of this sort of band in that era, I’m rightly more cautious than I used to be. So I gently ring the bell atop the desk of Bobby’s reception.
The album eases you in, with drops in pace from the frantic drumming of the opening bars, slowing step-by-step. And before you even notice, you’re in to recent single ‘Hot Heater’ with it’s contrasting refrains of ‘cooooooool waterrrrr’ and ‘hot heater, your hands facing, hot heater, your heads on a hot heater’.
There’s contrast and balance across the album as a whole too. Sure they’ve got their sound – a good sound it is, and used well – but just when you get to the point when you think ‘I could do with them switching it up a bit’ they throw in softer, slower and more introspective ‘Reflection’. Then switch it back again with their best-known tune so far ‘Texas Drums’, with it’s laid back take on A Teardrop Explodes. Another laid back take on their musical heroes is ‘NY Inn’ where I’m hearing something like Nick Cave’s vocals. It’s a fine line to tread between wearing their influences on their sleeves and being derivative, but for me they pull it off with style.
While they’re big on a riff here, a hook there, and chant-along chorus too, the songs aren’t as simple as they may seem. They play around with structures and aren’t afraid to switch rhythm and pace multiple times in the same song.
After all the jollity, Bobby does tire a tiny bit towards the end. Perhaps the reality of running a motel, and maybe age, has caught up with the the once younger, harder partying Bobby.
But, like many of those 00s bands I earlier referred to, will Pottery be fading away after an album or two? Or be forging their own path and be sticking around and getting better for years to come? I certainly hope the latter is true. I won’t be booking a motel room just yet, but I’m up for the party.
Words by James Spearing