ARTIST: THE BOTTOM LINE
TITLE: NO VACATION
LABEL: MARSHALL RECORDS
WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON
Contenders for your new favourite pop punk band, The Bottom Line may be from the south coast of England but you’d be forgiven for believing they were from the West Coast of America. With an old school, California sunny day vibe, the four piece have actually been around for longer than most people think, with a debut album in 2012 and a couple of EPs in between, all self released. Now with Marshall Records, things are beginning to look up for the group and second full length ‘No Vacation’ sees them take their music to the next level.
Opening track ‘Reasons’ starts us off as we mean to go on. It was the first single off the album and caused quite a stir last year when the band managed to pull together a star studded line-up for their music video, including the likes of Simple Plan, Fever 333, Neck Deep and Mayday Parade. Obviously they’re not just going to get such amazing cosigns for nothing. It’s a great track. Bouncy, upbeat, feelgood, catchy. All the things that an excellent pop punk song should be. With bags of energy and the kind of tension in the guitar hook that makes your heart start to race a little, it’s a fantastic opener to the album.
“a nostalgic step back in time as the band take us on a tour of the golden era of pop punk”
As the album continues, it’s like a nostalgic step back in time as the band take us on a tour of the golden era of pop punk. Play this record to one of your friends and ask them to guess what year it was released. Anyone into the likes of New Found Glory, Blink-182 and any of those classic wave pop-punk bands will take comfort in the familiarity of the hooks, guitars, bouncy drums and general subject matter of these songs. The Bottom Line are clearly a band who have their feet firmly planted in the roots of the genre and perhaps that’s what people want right now, having grown tired of the carbon copy UK revival bands in more recent years.
The instrumentation is tight and punchy throughout, the songs well written standard pop punk fare, and the vocals delivered in that usual Americanized nasal fashion. Again, one could be forgiven for not realising these guys were from the UK, especially since they literally wrote a song called ‘California’. The band wear their influences on their sleeves but there are definitely a few key moments of originality where they start to experiment a little more. ‘Doomed’ is one of the stand out tracks of the bunch, slowing things down a bit at the middle point of the album, with a beautiful melodious minor hook and some interesting chords, and ‘Gone’ has a great opening sequence which leads to a catchy chorus – a potential future classic.
“They definitely have the ability and potential to take pop punk to a new place…“
There’s other moments that show exciting potential, such as the wavering melody line and minor chords in the middle of ‘Like The Movies’, pretty much all of ‘Everything’ which is a really stand out track and the slightly gruffer vocal delivery on the verses of ‘California’.
Overall, ‘No Vacation’ is a great collection of solid songs which showcase their songwriting and musicianship, and is bound to bring more attention to a band who’ve been slogging away for years doing what they’re most passionate about. It will be interesting to see where they take this next but it would be nice to see them push themselves and experiment a bit more. They definitely have the ability and potential to take pop punk to a new place rather than purely being a band who’s an excellent homage to the past so here’s hoping the future is safe in the hands of The Bottom Line.