I like discovering new DIY punk rock bands, but more often than not their first 7” or demo tends to be shoddily recorded, too amateurish (even for me) and in some cases unlistenable. It often takes those sorts of bands a couple of releases to really get going. However, new London-based punk band Bottler’s first EP Smithereens is actually pretty good. I’m not saying the recording is super clean, but it fits the style well. This is DIY punk done right.
There is an apt sense of urgency in these three minute hits that harks back to the classic ‘70s punk/pop-punk bands, like The Damned or Buzzcocks. It’s poppy/melodic punk, but I am unsure about labelling it as straight up pop-punk. There is definitely a ‘90s skate punk influence in there. It reminds me a little of Zatopeks in that they mix up a little bit of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll and Oi! with their pop-punk. Similarly, the vocals are also distinctly English-sounding and fit in well with a melodic punk sound. I think the coolest part about this EP is the lyrical content. It is pretty damn difficult to be original in a genre where seemingly everything has been done to death, but Bottler manage to avoid the trappings of pop-punk’s GIRLSHEARTBREAKSURFING and conventional punk’s FUCKDASYSTEM. On Smithereens, we get to hear about the obscurity of DIY punk bands (“Ex-Members”), a satirical ode to being a criminal (“Mastermind”) and a scathing attack on organised religion (“No Questions Please”). It is great to hear a bit of originality, both musically and lyrically, coming from a UK punk band.