Playback St Louis (website) - 2004
Bluebottle Kiss: Come Across
We were thisclose to getting amazing Aussie rockers to town last month. Ah well maybe its for the best. Let Come Across, the bands fifth album (second to be released in the States), really sink in and take hold, and then call em back to the Midwest when theres an audience clamoring to see them.
At least, thats how it should be. Come Across is truly an amazing album, breathtaking and magical, poetic and rocking. As they did on last years Revenge Is Slow, BBK manage to incorporate strings and literary lyrics into their cacophony of sounds to create a brand of rock that is at once fresh, familiar, and richly woven. Opening the disc is the slow Scouthall, which ends with the perfect realization: When I see her Ill have something to say/Yeah, I will think of something to say/When I see her Ill have something to say/Ill probably just look the other way. On Everything Begins and Ends at Exactly the Right Time, vocalist Jamie Hutchings (other band members include Ben Fletcher, Simon Fuhrer, and Ben Grounds) assures us of the small consolation named by the title.
With his charming Aussie accent, Hutchings speaks the intro to Last Playboy in Town. Spoken/sang from the point-of-view of a womanizer with way too much self-confidence, the song comes off much more impressive than similarly themed tunes by lesser bands. Slow Train to a Comfy Jail is a meandering ride through the countryside. Set these plastic handcuffs on fire, Hutchings croons, Ill take a slow train to a comfy jail/where the only thing left is desire/Do you want to come home? Even love is new in the hands of these songwriting masters; the piano-driven Can I Keep You? begins with these words of poetry: The blood in your veins has turned into red wine/and your spit is champagne/your sweat the River Rhine.
By far, the longest lasting visual from the album is presented in the opening line of So Slow: Woke to find the winds come up/and its raining fire trucks. An anguished guitar line sets a melancholy tone as a couple tries to hold on to whats slipping away. Lyrically, this songs a gem: Hutchings paints a picture of the seasons turning, the heat slipping away, as metaphor for the relationship. A slide guitar, lazy yet pointed, and female backing vocals add a beguiling character to Sisters Head On; the song itself, while beautiful, turns out to be a morose tale of two middle-aged sisters who die in a head-on collision.
The poetry continues into the haunted, seven-minute saga, Cross Purpose, as a windowed mother sweeps/a loveless daughter weaves, waiting for the son/brother who left in search of riches, but never returns. Crawling With Ants is a more upbeat song, both lyrically and musically, in which a man mentally revisits the townand girlof his youth. Closing out the disc is Ministry of Fear, another in a recent spate of rock songs about present-day societys state of high alert. The song builds to a crescendo with a chorus of womens voices as Hutchings voice rises to be heard.
Its a slow, textured build, like the album itself, growing on you until it suddenly hits you: theres nowhere else youd rather be. Bluebottle Kiss invite you to Come Across and explore their other-worldly richness.