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N E W S  &  I N FO .

June 14, 2006

Bottomline album review by Justin Hooks

People’s taste in music changes when the relationship with their significant other ends. The bands the former couple discovered while together are instantly tossed aside, and usually, each part of the couple returns to the music they enjoyed before the relationship began. There is a huge segment of the music industry that specializes in the initial phase of this cycle; the “break-up song.” There is, however, an entirely different segment of music that has yet to be explored. The “closure song.”

Gulfport-based rockers Bottomline have taken the only good part of a break-up, the part where you actually get over the person, and built a solid reputation for themselves along the Mississippi Coast. It’s made all the better because the four of them (Trent Lee, vox; Phillip Stegall, guitar; Terry Kovacevich, bass; and Jamie Shaw, drums) are quite talented in their own right. So talented, in fact, the band has secured a sponsorship with the Bud True Music program. No other band along the Mississippi Coast has been able to grasp that golden ring.

Their self-titled debut album plays like the conversation you have with yourself after seeing your former lover and being surprised that knots didn’t form in your stomach. Stegall’s riffs skate the edge of new country and new rock, with a blues edge. The man’s chops are outstanding, but I’ve not heard very many axe-men that can play a rock rhythm part in a verse, then a Musik Mafia-style solo and make it enjoyable.

“Dead Like Me,” the album’s opening track, conjures images of the Marlboro Man walking through the desert, fending off his emotions with a Fender Stratocaster. It’s raw, dirty and totally GUY. Throughout the album’s nine emotional band-aids, Lee’s voice is the perfect counterpoint to Kovacevich’s bass lines and Shaw’s drum work. Both of which, however, are just about as reliable as gravity.

Lee’s range is appreciable, and I only had one complaint through the album. He didn’t scream enough. But then I realized, he doesn’t have to. He can actually sing. I’ve seen hundreds of bands in my time, and the one constant I’ve found is that the ones who don’t try to actually swallow the mic are the ones that stick around.

Speaking of sticking around, everybody in the band should put “Livin’ It” on their resumes. I was actually pumping my fist in the air to this song driving to work the other day. Yeah, it’s that kinda song. It has nothing to do with drugs, sex, money, greed or mutual recrimination. It has everything to do with pure, simple rock and roll.

Probably the cornerstone to this album is “Product of Change.” This song conjured up my ex-significant others. It has a great message that I’m not entirely sure the band knew they were sending when they wrote it. Are any of us ever really ready for relationships when the opportunity presents itself? If we aren’t, is that reason alone good enough to warrant refusal of a wonderful life lesson?

Self-reliance and steadfastness in the face of heartbreak are some of the best lessons we can learn. The members of Bottomline are not kids. They’ve combined their own experiences into this album, and have hit upon something that should be copied a thousand times if only to reduce the number of break-up songs that are out there. I’ve found that rock and roll is the best remedy for a broken heart. Don’t believe me? Take two of Bottomline’s songs and call me in the morning. You’ll be glad you did.

Posted by emomixtape at June 14, 2006 5:43 PM
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