If you asked a band what was the idea behind their new record and that record was called ‘Welcome to Bobby’s Motel’ and they told you that it was based on an ‘all encompassing alt-reality’ that they had built around themselves where the band is Bobby and the motel is wherever they are….you might think ‘What’! You would probably expect to hear plenty of noodling psychedelia on the record with lashings of prog and maybe a large dose of puzzling introspection. Well sorry to disappoint but Pottery’s debut album goes somewhere else, somewhere much more savvy, direct and purposeful.
‘Welcome to Bobby’s Motel’ is an invitation into the Montreal five piece’s home of hot- wired post punk, pumping dance rhythms, driving guitar chops and irrepressible energy. If you caught Pottery’s first EP ‘No.1’ released this time last year you will know about the infectious spontaneity of their clattering beats, art-pop intrigue and no-wave rawness. The new album, available now on Partisan, sharpens up these features but adding more intrigue and variation to the backbone funky grooves. Working with Parquet Courts and Snail Mail producer Jonathan Schenke and having the ‘luxury’ of ten days to record rather than two seems to have allowed the band time to think… but not too much time to over-think it. ‘Welcome to Bobby’s Motel’ is impressively ambitious without cooling down the dancefloor heat.
The title track opener has all the key elements of the Pottery mix. After a drum roll announcement, it hurtles along at breakneck speed as garage keys and swirling synths whirl around the rhythms before easing into a slower glorious krautrock pulse. It’s like the primed- up psyche of Squid in under two minutes. That’s the beauty of Pottery…they don’t hang around for longer than just right.
Elsewhere the super glued rhythm machine of Tom Gould’s bass and Paul Jacob’s drums keep up the band’s solid momentum as Austin Boylan, Jacob Shepansky and Peter Baylis (guitars, vocals and keys) add the colours and shapes. ‘Hot Heater’ bumps a slow angular art riff intro into a funky DIY dance groove and punchy call/response chants of the main song. ‘Take your time’ takes the Gang of Four on a bouncing electro-speed hop while ‘Bobby’s Forecast’ mashes up chunky disco funk and zooming guitar lines to full effect. But maybe it’s the rampant ‘Texas Drums Pt 1 & 2’ that captures this album’s thumping euro-disco meets LCD Soundsystem vibe most perfectly.
Beyond the pivotal ‘Texas Drums’ Pottery unravel and reassemble their post punk connections inventively. The mirror ball moments of ‘Reflections’ and the brooding menace of ‘Under the Wires’ recall the Associates at their peak while Devo’s spidery avant-rock weaves through the whole record. So, although there is some remaking and remodelling going on here, ‘Welcome to Bobby’s Motel’ finds Pottery really throwing it down. It is a strong individual statement of intent likely to nudge them towards the upper trajectory of their illustrious labelmates, Idles and Fontaines DC.