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Music Review

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Artist: Bottled Up
Label: Maximum Pelt Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 16 October 2020

Bottled Up’s freaked-up art pop is a smoothie of frontman Nikhil Rao’s key obsessions: Suburban Lawns, italo disco, Alan Vega, Television (the band), television (the appliance), Andy Warhol, the entire decade of the ‘80s, Prince’s particular shade of plum purple, his old Tascam 8-track, Factory Records. Indian-American by way of Oakland and LA, Rao’s the dude-who’s-seen-it-all meets dude-about-town. Bottled Up's new LP, Crystal, is released via Maximum Pelt Records...

A sound designer and audio engineer by trade - professionally schooled in the art of video game scoring- Bottled Up's frontman Nikhil Rao is joined by Colin Kelly - a disciple of D.C.’s avant-analog scene - Michael Mastrangelo and Beth Cannon on duelling guitars, and Rao’s brother, Rohit, on acid-jazz-does-punk drums.

The result is a laidback, punky affair. This was an album that I took a long time to warm to. The opening 'Crystal' showcases Rao's distinct, raw vocal style. All I could see, in my head, was the song being sung by The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). However, as the tracks roll on I slowly warmed to his bizarre delivery.

As track after track came and went, I became more engaged and more invested in the band. It's a good cross section of mellow punk styles that kept me coming back for more.


Nick Smithson

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