BOGOS: Empty Bottles
Release year: 2022
Label: Voodoo Rhythm Records
Do you like The Goddamn Gallows? I betcha these guys from Switzerland do. The biggest hype around the US gutterpunks, whose style of music could perhaps be characterised as some kind of old time country infused, punked up psychobilly, seems to have waned, but there are still legions of underground denizens swearing in their name.
As such, one could venture a guess that the style of this Swiss band falls in fertile ground. They may lack the grimiest grime and crustiest crust of the US band, but otherwise Bogos land stylistically close.
In other words, banjo pickin’ psychobilly is the name of the game. The slap bass provides a steady backbone upon which both heavily distorted electric guitar and adequately picked banjo add flesh. Combining classic second wave psychobilly crunch, dirty punk rock and old time country in their sound, Bogos don’t fit quite comfortably into any one niché. Except goddamngallowsabilly.
Honestly, you could drop a lot of names to describe Bogos’ sound, taking your pick from the alternative country and americana, psychobilly, punk and folk punk scenes. But it’s easier to cut corners and shamelessly arrive at the obvious: these guys sound a lot like The Goddamn Gallows at their most psychobilly. Sure, the Bogos aren’t quite as sleazy and grimy, and put more emphasis on the punk rock a lot of the time, but the connection is still there.
But, so as to avoid confusion: the Bogos don’t sound like The Goddamn Gallows to the extent that you could reduce their sound to mere copycattery. The parallells in sound are strong, yes, and I’m fairly sure the Swiss band owes a debt to the US gutterpunks, but from the largely same ingredients Bogos bake a sufficiently different cake for it to be enjoyable.
And that’s the best thing about Empty Bottles: it’s a good album. The combination of punk, psychobilly and country works a treat. Perhaps there is a slight lack of memorable tracks on the album, those “hit songs” that would make a nice album great, but apart from this slight shortcoming, there’s nothing to complain about here.
Voodoo Rhythm Records are a cult name from whom I’ve come to expect dirty, eccentric garage rock weirdness. Comparing to the label’s roster, Bogos are a surprisingly “straight” band. But talking quality, Bogos certainly doesn’t lower the label’s level in any way – this might in fact be one of my favourite releases from them in a while.
Visit Bogos on their official website or Facebook