Never before has a band’s biography grabbed my attention in the way that Bottle Rocket’s has. The demo CD arrived to me sans case with a hand-written sheet of paper, first informing me that the band’s name was no longer Shallow Ice. Inspired by the very cool Wes Anderson film, Bottle Rocket was to be their new moniker. Not so bizarre so far, but alarm bells started ringing when I glanced at the band member's names… Parker The Great – Vocals/Guitar, Amaryllis – Piano and Wolfgang Thomas II on Organs and Guitar… I began to smell a rat. To cut a long story short, the bio then goes on to explain how Parker and Amaryllis met on the Trans Siberian Express before finding a third member named Vladimir in a Cathedral in St Petersburg. Fascinatingly imaginative stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree, but fair play to the band – it certainly got me to sit up and take notice.
Apparently 1/3 of the story is true, but whatever, we’ve got a demo CD to talk about. I’m pretty sure the band just consists of Parker and Amaryllis, who are loosely based in Oxford when not having fun with strangers in Churches. It’s clear they’ve listened to a lot of music by the Beatles and the Flaming Lips, which is not a bad thing per se. Their song titles are mildly amusing too, with the Wayne Coyne-esque 'Philosophy Of Time Travel' (or it could be called 'The New Story Of The Universe' which is what comes up when you put the CD in the player) opening the demo. 'The Ballad of Amaryllis' (or is that 'Peggy Sue'?) stands out a million miles for me on the EP – a great little song that conjures up images, "but I ended up in Vegas/With a man who wore perfume/By the day his name was Gordon/But at night it’s Peggy Sue". Nothing too ground-breaking, really – just pretty solid stuff, although the more I listen to it the more I start singing 'All The Young Dudes' toward the end. 'Trans Siberian Express (Nobody Knows It)' has more than just the title in common with Semisonic but there are some neat lyrical couplets and a general sense of melody that, steered in the right direction, could really sound good pretty soon. The difficulty I’m having in reviewing this though is that I’m really relying on a little bit of information that seems to come from an inspired fiction writer called Parker. However, the organ/vocals sound works very well and I’ll be looking forward to hearing more in the future.
For more information contact Parker @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
6Andrew Farley's Score