Bibelots : No Other Way Out
I’ve recently had the pleasure of listening to Bibelots latest EP No Other Way Out. Some of you may remember that I reviewed their EP, Devil’s Highway at the beginning of the year and predicted great things for this band of Bluesy-Electro-Groove rockers from East London.
One of the things I’ve always liked about Bibelots is that you can clearly hear their musical influences when they craft a song, but yet they also manage to stamp a unique Bibelots trade mark to the mix. For an unsigned band to have developed their own sound so early is remarkable in my opinion. It’s danceable 21st century Indie rock that knows exactly where it came from and also where it’s going.
And as for production values — I was impressed with their previous effort but this latest EP has raised the bar considerably. I can’t find a fault with the mix at all. Everything is showcased when and where it should be and I would be very surprised if they hadn’t spent a considerable amount of time in the studio getting this one to sound exactly the way they wanted it to.
A Bibelots track is rarely if ever just a straightforward 1−4−5 rock progression, perpetually returning to the starting point like a dog chasing its tail. You’ll soon notice that they are quite fond of using the bridges and choruses to juxtapose a cross-genre theme or sound against the verse. Yes you can hear their Blues, Classic and Indie rock influences, but those are often mixed up with interesting bits of Electro, from synths to samples, and inevitably the result is a much more sophisticated Rock-n-Roll stew.
Their eclectic approach to song crafting is exemplified perfectly in the title track No Other Way Out. It opens with an electro hum and an almost mournful plea from vocalist Ben Richardson before Neil Athey’s rhythm guitar slices in with a most heavy thunder crunch that reminds me of one of Jack White’s tones somehow — either on Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground or Seven Nation Army — but actually heavier — and Jimmy Page himself would appreciate the heavy simplicity of the hook. But here’s where we get iconic Bibelots in action because the song doesn’t remain in Über rock territory for long. A few bars later and the resonant vocals are back with Bobby Harrison on keys adding a moody electro beat/groove reminiscent of The Orb in its heyday. The song alternates between the crunch and the groove, with added psychedelic samples thrown in for good measure. All in all, an iconic Bibelots track in my opinion, despite the fact that’s its actually consistently heavier than their more danceable fare.
It’s Already in The Blood has the unenviable job of following up a real powerhouse and takes an entirely different course. Rooted firmly in British Indie rock with delicate digital delay rhythm guitar tinkles (think U2 — sort of) and a jangly lead tone and hook, this is more typical Bibelots fare. We’re talking about a catchy vocal with conscious lyrics, the usual interplay between chorus and verse, and an upbeat musical atmosphere. You can really appreciate the synergy here and I’m inclined to comment on the importance of Ben’s vocals to the Bibelots sound. His voice suits their music perfectly. A very British band all in all.
Innercity is a potential summer festival anthem number and opens with an Electro beat and a signature Bibelots guitar twangle (I just made that up I think). Gaz Evans injects a definitively funky groove into the base line throughout the track and Athey’s guitar layering is evident here too — joining in the funky chops and laying down the riff where appropriate. My favorite bit occurs just after the half way mark — an absolutely production perfect slow-build to a classic crescendo with everything plus a few extra bits thrown in at the explosion point. Tim Fielding’s drum work at the critical moment creates the perfect tension and release. Mint. Rave perfect. Electro-rock fusion salad. And did I say funky?
All in all No Other Way Out will delight current Bibelots fans and should go some way towards gaining the band the wider acclaim they deserve. As a slice of what the band is capable of, I think it showcases their strengths, range and virtuosity in a most favorable light. Add to that a perfect production package and you’re laughing really. I gave their last EP a 9/10, but considering the fact that they’ve just raised the bar on production standards to the top I’m going to have to allot them a perfect 10 for this effort.
I’m still standing by my prediction that Bibelots will get signed by a major label, and that if given half a chance they’ll one day be hanging their hats on the Rock-n-Roll wall of fame and infamy.
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