First there was Paul McCartney, Phil Lynott and Lemmy, and now in 2017 Bill Botting swells the esteemed ranks of bass-players-with-moustaches-come-charismatic-front-men.
Following Allo Darlin’s triumphant farewell back in December 2016, their ever-buoyant bass player Bill Botting is releasing his debut solo album in March on Fika Recordings and WIAIWYA.
He gathered a supergroup of siblings and indie legends including Allo Darlin’ bandmate Paul Rains, Jonny Helm from The Wave Pictures, Tom Wade from Owl & Mouse, Laura K from Tigercats, Darren Hayman from Darren Hayman and Hannah Botting from home, christened them the Two Drink Minimums, took them to Ramsgate, and recorded Better Friends.
Better Friends is simply described as indie mixed with country, or country mixed with indie. Or like if Lou Reed went to a Linda Ronstadt Concert in 1988 and decided to have a change of direction.
Imagine the soundtrack to a 1970's road movie directed by John Hughes, with a little power pop, some cosmic American music and some post-punk, pre-indiepop jangle, all played through an Australian indie filter, with a Paul Simon cover thrown in for good measure. You can hear the Go-Between's in there, some solo McCartney, perhaps an Antipodean Kinks and even some classic Huey Lewis, Hall and Oates or Billy Joel.
Better Friends was predominantly written on the move: on 3 hour night buses, tour vans and cross country trains. There are tales of hotel rooms without spare keys [Paulie’s Girl], absurd ‘sexy’ Halloween costumes (Sexy Mental Patient, Sexy Zombie etc) [Feeling Sad Again] and the difficulty of explaining depression to your eldest child [Difficult Stuff]. The cover of Graceland came from hearing Willie Nelson’s version while waiting for the rest of the band to arrive for the first rehearsal. Having thought it was uncoverable, Bill proceeded to cover it with the gang. And he still modestly maintains that The Two Drink Minimums’ version is the second best of the three.
It's honest and personal, melancholy and joyous... like a warm hug from a new friend at the end of a boozy night.
"a righteous burst of alt-country. “I started smoking when you told me you loved me” Botting croons amid a formidable backdrop of gnarly guitar solos and swooning backing vocals that quickly transport you somewhere else entirely, delivered with an undeniable charm"
Gold Flake Paint
"Opening with the excellent title track, so good it could sit easily on any ‘Allo Darlin’ album and followed up by the equally catchy 'Burning Bridges' it is clear that Bill’s abilities stretch way beyond that of a mere bass player. 'Better Friends' is far from a one-trick pony though with 'Knew You When' having a distinct country feel and 'Treating You Right' mining the same seam as Status Quo!" Penny Black Music
"While I know we were all more-than-bummed when Allo Darlin’ called it quits, there’s promise in the future, especially knowing that Bill Botting (the AD bass player) has already announced a solo outing. Now, it’s not exactly what one would expect, with a little bit more of a folk influence, though he’s still employing the band’s tendency for great melodies. On this track, there’s a gentle female vocal accompaniment, perfectly accenting Botting’s seeming Western drawl." Austin Town Hall
"These songs - they're all hits - have the southern rock punch of Tom Petty, the careworn intimacy of Neil Young's ballads and the maudlin melodies of The Go-Betweens' Tallulah." Did Not Chart
"You know Christmas or Hanukkah (or just holiday season for pc purposes) is around the corner when you see a flood of lists hitting the Internet. With that, we also get the gift of great Christmas music from our favorites, like Bill Botting who plays with Allo’ Darlin. He’s rounded up a bunch of friends for a short little EP titled It’s Not Christmas Anymore, and the track they’ve got floating out is quite a joy. It’s got a little bit of stripped down folk, but still adheres to a pop sensibility that’s visible in the work of all the participants. Should make for a nice little holiday listen."
Austin Town Hall
"a jubilant living room jam with tasteful guitar solos and warm saxophone complimenting Botting’s understated voice. The lyrics reveal a romantic plan to escape the holiday hangover, only for the exhausting churn of the year to unravel the idea."
The Big Takeover
"Bill Botting and the Two Drink Minimums’ It’s Not Christmas Anymore features so many folks from bands that I love, including: Bill Botting & Paul Rains (Allo Darlin’), Hannah Botting (Owl & Mouse) Darren Hayman (Hefner, Papernut Cambridge, amongst a million other bands) and David Tattersall & Jonny Helm (Wave Pictures). Look at that lineup!! Those are some Christmas music all-stars!!"
"deliciously crooned in the seductive lull of opining lap steels all smoked in the warming frosty topped glow of a campfire gathering which amid the honey toned winter-esque harmonies and the countrified cool had us much minded of a mulled wine imbibing studio soiree featuring Kevin Tihista, Rockpile and Moviola."
The Sunday Experience