Bluebottle Kiss – Revenge is Slow

Bluebottle Kiss
Revenge is Slow

I could rattle off the names of 25 bands right now that Bluebottle Kiss remind me of. Not because they literally sound like 25 different bands, because, face it, that would mean they were just a cover band at your local “college” discotheque, but because they’ve got the same blood pumping through their musical hearts.
They’re sipping from the same keg of dark, strange, absynthian concoction that all truly inspired bands pull their draughts from. You’ve seen or felt those eyes peering out at you from behind the music before – dark eyes full of knowledge about things that should not be known, or at least not broadcasted with such fervor. These are staggering, wounded hearts singing about drug-induced debauchery, broken homes, one-night stands, murder ballads, and bloodied faces leaning over tumblers half-full of whiskey. Telling you of their trouble, their sorrow, their pleasure and their pain is both a relief and a burden. They are driven by it. The means and the ends become blurred.
“We’re dancing with people we don’t know, I’m tired of being right. So tired I can’t see through my window. It takes a fool to know a fool. I’ve been one. You have too. I want to sleep in the sand. Want to wake up like a man who’s lost his memory.” – “Hello Stranger”
These are tales that we’ve heard before, but that doesn’t stop them from seeming fresh and new in this band’s capable hands. It’s a sweet mix of content and delivery that wins on 12 out of 12 tracks. That’s right, this band does not falter. For 12 tracks on this album, anyway, they are perfect.
Musically, Bluebottle Kiss twist and turn between bombast and bashfulness with total confidence but somehow retain the sensation of chaos. It’s that feeling of being somewhere close to the edge, the difference between an impassioned speech and a nonsensical rant. And you, the listener, are in their hands and will go exactly, precisely, to the spot they lead you to. And you will like it. But you will never, ever see what’s coming, because the destination is unknown even to your captors. You’re not quite sure if their teeth are bared in a smile or a snarl. The music fits these tales like a glove, avery tight glove. The music breathes, flows, constricts, and congeals, all on the song’s whim.
There is space, darkness, soul, tightness, pop, regret, light, loss, rapture and wizened wisdom in these songs, but the one thing you will never hear in these songs, not for one minute, is insincerity. In Sex Pistols-ian speech, “We really mean it, man.” And they do. That’s why it’s believable, that’s why it works, and that’s why it’s the best gritty pulp-y soul rock anyone’s heard since the Afghan Whigs called it a day.
It’s so rare that a band is able to achieve something like this. Few bands or people have what it takes to achieve this level of musical expression. Some bands do it so regularly that we almost expect it, but we have to remember that it is a rare feat that deserves to be appreciated for what it is, accepting that it may not be repeated. It’s like Haley’s Comet. You stand under the sky for a hundred years, straining to see through the inky blackness and in a flash, the moment comes and goes. The show is over, and you’re left hoping that somehow they can pull it off again.