Bot’Ox ‘Babylon By Car’

Bot’Ox / ‘Babylon By Car’


I’m A Cliche / Released October 25th 2010

When you finish listening to an album for the first time and feel compelled to skip back to the beginning for another bout, it’s usually a good sign. Surprisingly, this stunning debut LP comes from a pair whose entire back catalogue consists of just five releases.

That this oeuvre saw the light of day thanks to quality labels like DFA, DC Recordings and Grand Central gave some indication as to how good this collection of hypnotic electronic music would be. Notwithstanding, maximum points for taking a listener’s breath away should be awarded. All eleven tracks may flow from one spellbinding moment to another, but there’s a variety inherent here that’s sorely missing from many acts people pip as the next big thing.

Motor City opens the affair with an e-organ and key tune-up, as epic as it is uplifting, welcoming in hand claps and ecstasy soundscapes. A highlight with the first shot, it would be the most smile-inducing moment on the album. But that would ignore the staggering beauty of the tripped out, emotive and somewhat opiate closer Slow Burn, which magnificently showcases guest vocalist Mark Kerr

These downbeat moments are worth mentioning, but barely come close to defining the album. Elsewhere the hair-raising post-punk-meets-Nintendo thrasher Overdrive lives up to its name, while recent single Blue Steel, recorded with Domingo-songstress Anna Jean, is a fine piece of sultry, groove driven synth pop that does what the best 80s influenced dance music should, and makes you move those feet.

Crashed Cadillac‘s mildly disturbing drone of a melody and near-Hitchcockian strings are like some powerful cinematic soundtrack. Snatch’s Judy Nylon shows up to make an electro sideswipe at useless men, as Tout Passe, Tout Lasse, Tout Casse grows from near ambient into a big room, growling anthem. And of course Babylon By Car crosses disco with the Chemical Brothers, staking its own claim on the Best Track title.

It can be easy to think of something to say about your average release, or something that really doesn’t cut it. But when it’s as strong as this, knowing where to start, and where to leave off is a nightmare. Like two ninja assassins carrying synths through the shadows, Bot’Ox have come from relative obscurity to unleash what may well be the finest collection of knob twisting, skilfully sequenced and difficult to define tunes 2010 has offered so far. And that’s a particularly strong statement, considering the standard of sounds the likes of Royksopp, We Love and Kohib have all bestowed on us in recent months.