Some albums just make you want to be in a band. As soon as ‘Welcome To Bobby’s Motel’, the debut album by Montreal five-piece Pottery, begins with a rollicking drum beat that then gives way to a swirling swathe of energy and excitement, you want to be in their gang. This energy barely lets up across the next 40 minutes on an album that’s funky, fearless and just so damn fun.
The Partisan Records signings made a promising entrance on their ‘No. 1’ EP in 2018, a throwback punk record indebted to Television, Talking Heads and the funkier, strutting corners of the genre. Parts of that EP were more laidback and swaying, but Pottery were always a far more fizzy and frantic live band than that, and this live energy is perfectly translated for the first time on their debut album.
The record feels like a loose concept album based around the unhinged though largely unmasked titular character Bobby, and this lack of clarity makes it all the more exciting. You’re thrust head-first into the world of Pottery and this unknown motel, trying to make head or tail of what’s going on and where the hell you are, while feeling like you’re being spun around in a human-sized washing machine.
Like all the best bands, Pottery feel like a super-tight collective — and when they combine their five voices together for the gang vocal assault on ‘Hot Heater’, they make an exhilarating sound. Frontman Austin Boylan, a live-wire on stage, acts as the band’s unhinged conductor, and you feel like he’s addressing the listener as much as his bandmates. When he orders “gimme the drums!” before leading the band into a furiously groovy assault half-way through ‘Bobby’s Forecast’, you’re right there with him, bashing your knees into oblivion.
Whether they’re singing about beloved drum kits (‘Texas Drums’), the dangers of substance abuse (‘Take Your Time’) or weird, hazy nights on tour in God Knows Where, USA (‘Under The Wires’), Boylan’s storytelling is psychedelic and truly enticing, taken to new heights by the frenzied layers of guitars and drums that back him up.
While Pottery’s debut EP paid tribute to the giants of the genre they find themselves in, ‘Welcome To Bobby’s Motel’ sees them flexing their muscles and trying to find their own space within it, all while having a hell of a lot of fun along the way. By the end, you’re desperate to find out just who Bobby is and how on earth you can beg, steal or borrow to spend a night in that mysterious motel.
Release date: June 26
Record label: Partisan