Duo Bottled in England are undoubtedly a cohesive Drum and Bass unit. Artistically, it is clear both parties, consisting of keyboard/bass player/vocalist Daniel Vognstrup and percussionist August Dyrborg are on the same page. On album “Boy/Lost”, intuition between the two abounds, resulting in an album that seldom wavers from its core; solid, danceable music. This is both the long player’s appeal, and its downfall.
However, there is much more good than bad to be found here. To start, the use of live, real-time acoustic drums over a drum machine sets the outfit apart. Knowing a human is in charge of those drums makes for a more unpredictable energy. Additionally, Vognstrup’s synth lines duck and weave between the drums skilfully, displaying an obvious ear for tuneful melody.
In spite of this, start to finish the album runs in a rather predictable manner. It could absolutely benefit from a more experimental slant. When embracing unconventional tones, composition and song structure, as heard in moody, stomping closer “The Gap”, Bottled in England soar. Interest abounds with the faux horns on cut “Zenith”, sounding like a wacky yet glorious Daft Punk B-Side. And when vocalist Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg is deployed in “Never Be Apart” a new musical depth is found in what could be your standard largely instrumental Drum and Bass fair.
Bottled in England are clearly not your average band. “Boy/Lost” sees them put most of their unique setup to good use.