The Vanguard, Sydney 01-02-07
Review by Jenny Valentish
"Play your 10 minute feedback song!" some wit kept shouting at Bluebottle Kiss, but they were there to treat us to an intimate run through much of last year's double album Doubt Seeds, before they take to the road in April for some retrospective shows (and a live album) that dip through their deleted back catalogue.
The Doubt Seeds terrain is pounded by gentle surf; a world where tremolo pedals roam free and the whammy bar is king. While on record - with it's sax, harp, banjo and choir - it may seem as though the band like to utilise everything but the coconut halves, there's actually a beautiful stillness to the music. The miserably few occasions they're played on triple j, they're like tumbleweed blowing through Toy Town.
Single The Women are an Army made an early appearance with it's lilting slide and cruisy BVs, dismissing Augie March's One Crowded Hour with a brisk dust of its hands. Cap'n Jamie Hutchings is a compelling, loose-limbed frontman, and despite his request for more reverb "or I sound like I'm puking after a 24-hour bender", his voice soared more grandly than ever before.
One of the most striking tracks from Doubt Seeds, the swampy Sheffield Brides, built up the volume and tension. It's a clashing sea shanty of a song that would find an easy bedfellow within The Drones' Gala Mill, and saw Hutchings and fellow guitarist Ben Grounds wrestling their Jazzmasters like giant squids.
Hutchings sermonised through The Judas Hands, careening it through a carnival-style middle-eight and crashing piano courtesy of sister Sophie, before bassist Ross Dickie and drummer Jared Harrison locked into each other's heartbeats for the soporific Harold Holt with it's haunting refrain: "Harold Holt plunged into the boiling sea. Is that what you're about to do to me?"
Creeping ballad The Weight of the Sea shuddered with some reverby Roy Orbison guitar and undulating drums went throbbing through the Vanguard increasing our collective bloodflow. You can't say you didn't get your money's worth.