Article by KevW
In what can only be seen as a heroic act of commercial suicide, lo-fi posters The Bordellos have spent the last few years flooding their Bandcamp page with enough free music to fry the brain of your old iPod. This summer alone has brought a series of EPs featuring unreleased and rare material recorded at various points in the past fifteen years. 'The Bordello underground tape vol 3' is the latest installment, featuring four songs: an alternative mix, a session track recorded for Dandelion Radio, a demo version, and a never before released song. It's a bit of a hotch-potch, not just in term of where each track originates from, but in terms of style and sound quality too. But that's always been the way...
The alternate mix of 'Poet Or Liar' is almost certainly the most accessible recording here, and could have been an underground hit. Written in a fairly conventional way, the slightly muffled vocals are backed by quiet harmonies and guitar that sounds as though it was nicked from Bowie's 'Heroes'. It has a strong melody though and makes for a great listen. The Dandelion Radio session version of 'Impossible' is short and mellow, using gentle guitar strums and is another nice song with echoes of '90s alt-rock; you can see why this was a showcase for radio. The scuzzy, ultra lo-fi demo of 'Arthur Lee' could actually be a test recording by the embryonic Love and has the classic '60s garage sound. The sound quality (but not the quality of writing) gradually deteriorates throughout the EP, until finally we get 'Sketches Of Pain' for which you'll probably need to crank the volume up a few notches. At a guess, you'd say that this never got past the demo stage, and that demo is what we're hearing here, but with The Bordellos it's difficult to tell, which is kind of the whole point. It's not a cheery ending, and if you could understand the lyrics then they may explain why. As ever, this EP is the sound of a band doing whatever the heck they like, and that's exactly why these guys should be treasured.
The Bordellos' website
Download the EP
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