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Angel on a Vespa
Artist: BottleRockit
Label: UK indie 
Length: 11 tracks

An energetic three piece hailing from the West Midlands (the area around Birmingham, for those not familiar with the UK), BottleRockit have managed to combine funky rock with some pop-punk attitude to forge a compelling debut.

Angel On A Vespa kicks off in an unhurried way even when the tempo and energy rise as they often do. That laid back feel emphasizes the funky feel which the interplay of Johnny Crawford's guitar and Tim Walker's bass inject into the songs. The band switch tempos regularly and occasionally it can be disconcerting, such as the dip from the stop and start "Speed Things Up" into the ballad that is "Not 19", but those changes save the band from falling into the predictability which can afflict many of their peers.

Johnny Crawford (guitar/keyboard/vocals) has a very versatile voice which occasionally shows hints of Green Day style pop-punk vocals. Those influences show in other places too. While BottleRockit never quite reach the frenetic pace or the levels of angst that those bands purvey, the harder side of their sound has something of the same edge.

The lyrics vary in their strength, but make good use of imagery, mixing experience and emotion. The band aren't pushing any particular agenda, although there is evidence of their concern to share their faith ("Duddle-A-Duh") alongside more good-time fun songs such as "BottleRockit," a semi-biographical number.

A well produced debut from a compelling band. It will be interesting to hear how they develop musically and lyrically from this base.

James Stewart 3/27/2000



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