Bottler debut album ‘Journey Work’ out now
New York-based duo Bottler, Pat Butler and Phil Shore, are the vanguard of their own distinctly eclectic sound. Raw, emotive, bold and highly creative, the duo have successfully carved out their own path with a series of EPs
that represent the broad scope of their production prowess. Over the last five years Bottler have been working on their debut album, ‘Journey Work’, a milestone achievement that marks a pivotal moment in their music career. The LP is a distillation of the duo’s multifaceted upbringing, blending a variety of styles together bound together by an overarching attitude and approach that embraces creative freedom and self-acceptance.
Pat and Phil, are childhood friends whose bond is akin to that of blood relatives. Their parents are best friends and they grew up side by side, developing their deep love for music together; sharing discoveries and inspirations, learning to play and perform, and nurturing their creativity together. Now formally ordained as Bottler, they channel their eclectic tastes into a sound that encapsulates the love and trust that forms the foundation of the friendship. The duo blend a myriad styles to create songs that emanate warmth, joy, sorrow, pain and the full spectrum of human emotion.
The album title, like their music, is open to interpretation. The duo reveal themes related to chronicling life’s many ups and downs, the deep preparation that must be taken ahead of a spiritual ceremony or psychedelic experience, and, simply, the journey taken during the conception and creation of an album. A quote from Walt Whitman also partly inspired the title; “every leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars”. Howe-ver, the intention behind the title is to allow for ambiguity, giving the listener an opportunity to write their own narrative.
Across 11 cuts Bottler illustrate their distinct take on electronic music, weaving in elements of indie, pop, rock, house and techno with confidence and panache. ‘Journey Work’ starts at ‘Home’, a song that is fizzing with positive energy, Pat’s vocals welcoming the listener to the start of this meandering audio adventure.
‘Chrysalis’ opens with delicate piano keys that guide us into a bombastic bassline and energising drum beats. As it progresses, scintillating layers of synth and strings are added, creating a highly affecting, uplifting atmosphere.
‘Melatonin‘ follows up next, merging heartfelt vocal delivery with a sombre instrumental, and a stirring guitar riff. A glorious demonstration of Bottler’s songwriting capabilities, which are also evident on ‘Vinyl‘, an uptempo dance number with an unbelievably catchy chorus. Here we see the duo channel their experience of playing in multi-member bands, as the breaks and arrangement feel perfectly suited to a festival-sized crowd.
On ‘Tacoma‘, Pat and Phil channel their appreciation of house and techno into a haunting cut that utilises reverse strings and extended vocal refrains to chilling effect. A heady club track for the twilight hours. ‘Meds’ incorporates muted singing, mystical pad work and a mesmerising riff to produce a captivating slice of uncomplicated dance music.
This is followed by ‘Hot Water’, which feels like a trip to a Californian beach, circa 1965. The vocals drift over a bouncing bassline with a complementary guitar riff. ‘Mako‘ features Samurai Velvet singing about fireflies and afterlife in a wonderfully heartrending manner, Bottler’s instrumental keeping things simple, yet highly effective.
We head back underground with ‘Weed‘, a dense, gloomy cut with inspired use of chopped up vocal clips,
stuttered throughout, alongside a mean bassline. ‘You’re Old‘ is the soundtrack to an explosion of festival euphoria, dancing shoulder to shoulder with your best friends, forgetting all your troubles and living in the moment. An anthemic song that transposes Bottler’s idiosyncratic style onto the pop blueprint. Finally, ‘Cicada Rhythm‘ closes the LP with a pensive, yet joyful feeling. A chunky bassline is juxtaposed with Pat’s angelic vocals cascading over the top. A hint of tribalism comes through, as we approach the end of the Journey Work…
Five years in the making, fueled by the desire to express their deep love for music of all varieties, Journey Work is symbolic of the long road it takes to accept oneself and be comfortable expressing one’s truth. Diverse, dynamic and daring with a rawness and honesty that is rare to find, the album marks a triumphant debut for Bottler and one that crystalises their unique identity.