Album review by KevW
The Bordellos are doing a good job of having a pop at today's vacuous chart stars, having released the EP 'Bring Me The Head Of Justin Bieber' last year. New album 'will. i. am, you're really nothing' continues this with a nice play on words from the Smiths song. The LP is available to download, but really we should nudge you in the direction of the CD package. How does the new album, another new EP called 'Extra Smooth' and the aforementioned Bieber-baiting EP sound? It comes with artwork from Phil Wilson of reformed indiepop legends The June Brides and has the total cost of a fiver. I think anyone who knows a bargain when they see one should be jumping at that offer. Unless the new album's a load of old cack of course, which it's not.
It would be fair to say though, that 'Will. I. Am., you're really nothing' isn't exactly a sugar-rush of bouncy guitar tunes, in fact it's quite dark and forlorn for the most part, and it's not until you've given it two or three spins that the songs start to grab you, but it's worth waiting for. Kicking off with a track called 'Between Forget And Neglect' goes some way to indicating the tone, and lines like "loneliness is such a haunting sound" drive it home even further. It's no dirge though, and there's a nice complexity to the different sections of sound that overlay each other; light piano, creaking guitar, a sparse, ticking beat and a plethora of background noise; they don't sell you short on the attention to detail. There's something of the Syd Barretts about 'Moonface', although vocally it's quite different and treads the line between being morbid and somehow pretty. There's a definite sadness to 'Straight Outta Southport' too, yet it's maybe the most affecting song on the album and twinklingly pretty. A similar vibe is found on 'The Sweetest Hangover' with a deeper vocal that's not too far removed from certain Tindersticks or Nick cave tracks.
The lighter tracks vary somewhat. 'Elastic Band Man' sounds a little like early Beck, it's almost upbeat and has a much poppier melody, although this is purposefully dragged down by a vocal that's deliberately dead-pan, so it ends up being somewhat confusing but definitely works. "Give me soul, give me youth" is the rallying cry that begins 'The Gospel According To Julian Cope' ("if you don't love in rock 'n' roll you don't love life") which offers an upbeat, scuzzed-up slice of D.I.Y. alt-rock that has a hint of the man himself about it, and Cope gets another mention (along with many other musical heroes) on the equally distorted 'My Dream Festival'. With cheap electronic beats and guitars that are fuzzed to within an inch of their life, The Bordellos take another pop at dour music on 'Public Execution - Gangnam Style' - some sample quotes: "There is plenty of room for Mumford & Sons under the sea, but no place on my radio or TV", "BBC Shit Music play cutting edge music with safety blades", mocking the so-called "alternative" BBC radio channel who play it rather more safely than they really should. The Bordellos sign off with 'will. i. am, you really are nothing' and it serves as a highlight, bringing in some vintage sounding organ and echoing vocals that are married to a '60s-style pop song given a more modern makeover. It's highly unlikely that they'll bring about the fall of modern pop music, but long may they continue trying.
The Bordellos' website
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