CD Review – Billie Bottle And The Multiple – The Other Place

This is an anarchic, bold, lively release by Billie Bottle And The Multiple. The Other Place tells the true story of two musicians from Devon (Billie Bottle & Martine, as seen on BBC’s The Voice) as they make their way slowly to Westminster. This is during the build up to the 2015 general election. Along the way they stop to busk on high streets, seas-fronts, and market places playing the same song forty-nine times over, and asking the people who interact with them who did they think has got the Power? The responses they received form the basis of the lyrics of this album. It reflects the views of those who were intending to vote along with those who were very definitely not going to. At times the political anarchism is as much on display as the musical anarchy, although both are done with celebratory warmth.

The music itself draws on a great slew of styles. You could loosely term it art-rock, but there is much jazz on display, along with a modern take on Canterbury-style prog, psychedelic-folk, pop, and classical minimalism also. At times there are faint echoes of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band too, but the band do not quite take as humorous a path as that. Actually, some of the songs are quite sad and reflect life’s less pleasant aspects, such as a homeless man with a sorry tale to tell.

Billie Bottle conceived, wrote and arranged the music, with contributions from other band members, and is pointedly not taking the mickey out of the members of the public who participated. It is not satirical in that sense. Quite the reverse actually, this aims to be a celebration of the diversity of opinion which regular politics seems to be so scornful of in recent times.

The liveliness of the music, the business of the ideas, sometimes means that there is often too much to take in and, in some ways, it pays to listen to the album in stretches. The musicians concerned are all top notch, but Roz Harding’s contributions on alto sax, recorder and percussion catch the ear. The production is really good, with crisp clear sound that enhances the music without being too pristine.

If a Canterbury style band made a rock opera, it may well come out like this. A really good listen, fun but seriously so. The band says; “This journey through the foundations of British democracy inspired a sequence of songs whose lyrics come from the words of the voters (and non-voters) that Billie and Martine met on their journey. It is a celebration of gentler kinds of power and an invitation to the audience to make their voices heard.”

01. Where Does It Begin? (3:31)
02. All Lies (3:58)
03. Cogs (3:42)
04. The Disconnect (5:38)
05. Action (5:01)
06. The Centre (4:07)
07. Gremlin (6:09)
08. X Marks The Spot (6:40)
09. My First Time Voting (4:43)
10. Vote John Izod (2:28)
11. We’re Only An Island (3:33)
12. I Just Met Nigel Farage (6:34)
13. Plebs (5:12)
14. Stand By Your Beds (7:02)
15. Power To The People (2:45)
16. A Stone, A Seed (2:35)
17. Time Is What It Used To Be (2:30)

Billie Bottle – Voice, Piano, Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion
Martine Waltier – Voice, Violin, Guitar, Percussion
Roz Harding – Alto sax, Recorder, Percussion
Viv Goodwin-Darke – Voice, Flute, Recorder, Percussion
Lee Fletcher – Bass, Synths, Keys, Soundscapes, Voice, Guitar, Percussion, Production                                                 


Troy Jones – Acoustic Drums

Available as a CD, bandcamp download & other downloads

The Other Place on CD, in a 4-panel Digipak with 32-page booklet

Record Label: Bad Elephant Music

Release Date: 14th May 2021

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