Going into this album, it’s fair to say I really didn’t know anything about The Bordellos. I hadn’t come across their music or social platform before; it was difficult for me to find out anything about the project. All I knew is that they produce a brand of ‘anti-music’ with personal commentaries on different matters. So with all that being said what did I think of the album?
I must admit, I had a great deal of fun listening to the album. It certainly possessed a great deal of individuality that’s for sure. Some tracks are funnier than others and in all honesty, some tracks are much darker than others. There is definitely a great deal of dry humour here and British humour too. The run time of each track is kept fairly short which I think is a good thing as comedic songs tend to drag on past the three minute mark. The artwork for the album did make me chuckle too; I do love me some quirky album artwork.
Production wise the album is a little shaky in parts but in a weird way it kinda contributes to the atmosphere. The guitars and vocals are actually pretty well produced, sounding natural and untampered. However every now and then I think some noise-gating could be done and some panning vocally just to keep each track consistent; occasionally a track would pop up which cut the mould which can be distracting. The earthy reverb used on some tracks did come across very nicely too; being an ambient producer myself, a strong reverb is the basis of my track.
Instrumentally each track is really quite varied. It surprised me how often things were changed up to create a different sound. On some tracks, a minimalistic approach is used to pronounce the vocals more powerfully. On others, we have a full group of instruments playing alongside each other creating these weird and wonderful, often dissonant, textures. I loved the way the keyboard/synth used it’s naturally soft timbre in a more aggressive manner; it’s that sort of anti-music I look for because it’s experimental and different. I also enjoyed how the key is typically never established, if a melody has a couple notes that are out, then it’s clearly purposeful; again when I listen to anti-music I want to hear people who defy the constraints of theory.
Lyrically some songs are stronger than others. Tracks like ‘Gary Glitter’ and ‘I No Longer Speak The International Language of Kojak, Kapiche’ genuinely made me chuckle out loud with clever wordplay and dark sequences; it might be subjective to others though. However tracks like ‘Unhappy Song’ didn’t really sit as well with syllables often missing the metronome and sounding a little rushed. However these things are only noticeable if you are looking for them actively. The delivery of the lyrics is fairly strong throughout. The vocalist sticks to his natural tone and each word has this degree of sincerity to it. You connect with the track on a stronger basis when that happens, which makes the lyrics that bit funnier.
So overall I had a great time listening to this album. It’s great to hear an artist avoid the predictability of everyday music and really make his own sound. Some tracks are more memorable than others, but it’s commendable for an independent act to release a full album; it’s almost unheard of. I definitely recommend this one for any listeners out there looking for the weird and wonderful.