Stoke-on-Trent rock duo Bathtub have come out swinging in 2021. Last year was set to be huge for the band, but Covid-19 delayed their plans to get into the studio, release new music, and headline The Sugarmill, Hanley.
Despite the pandemic, the energetic two-piece are taking matters into their own hands, refusing to sit back and waste time, storming the scene and showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Having formed in December 2018, Bathtub have progressed through a series of lineups and sounds, getting their name out in cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham in the process. But two years later, in November 2020, Olly and Brandon began a ‘new era’, moving forward as a duo, rather than a trio, ramping up the volume, weight and refining their sound. But one thing remains constant. Their energy and dedication. Oh, and Brandon’s lack of a t-shirt.
Their track Introduction marked the start of their new sound and the direction they’re planning to take their new music. They performed the explosive tune live on The Honey Box for their first episode of Season 5 following years of grafting to get on the live streamed show. Anyone who caught the show would have been treated to one of the very first listens to Fallin’ THRU ahead of its official release.
The band teased Fallin’ THRU with a series of black squares with the text ‘There’s been no peace since 1998’ – a nod to the track 1998, by Peace, and a lyric slipped into their track. I love that little nugget of knowledge – without it, you wouldn’t think twice about it, but knowing feels like a secret shared with the listener.
Recorded at Lower Lane Studios with Sam Bloor, in September 2020, Bathtub say the track is ‘a huge milestone for us, this shows everything we’ve worked hard on creating in the last 18 months, and epitomises perfectly what we want the new era to be; raw and full of emotion’.
Opening with an addictive bass riff which has an air of 90s grunge, Fallin’ THRU feels somewhat nostalgic – like an old friend with which you’ve enjoyed many a night out at The Underground. I’m certain Fallin’ THRU is likely to tear up the venue when live shows are allowed to resume, you can feel the track itching to be performed on stage. Olly told The LeopHEARD Podcast: “We have a rule that if we can’t play it live we don’t play it at all, everything that’s on the record we can do it live and make it sound almost identical because it’s pretty much recorded live in the studio. We want to release as much live music as we do studio produced music.”
Fast paced drums and the contrast between the deep growls and high bass screeches, it’s hard to believe that this much noise is the product of two twenty-year-old lads. That said, artists like Royal Blood and Slaves have been able to achieve a similar level of mind-blowing volume with just a bass guitar, drum kit, and voice box. Olly has been working on his vocals – and it shows – as his voice has certainly matured in comparison to earlier releases from their EP ‘Get Ducked’. During the podcast, Olly admitted to having a ‘fragile’ voice, and is hoping to achieve a gruffer, grittier sound in their latest releases.
Best mates since school, Brandon and Olly have been making tracks together since they were teenagers. Their camaraderie really works in their favour when it comes to music, as though they could read each others minds, creating something they both love and are proud of. In fact, the lads have a little scrap book filled with former band names, ideas, and sentimental newspaper clippings. Despite their heavy sound, they’re softies at heart.
Fallin’ THRU depicts a toxic relationship that you ‘never seem to mind crawling back to’, which everyone knows isn’t a good idea, but the familiarity can often look more appealing than the unknown, or being alone. The emotion manifests in hard-hitting, spat-out lyrics, angry hooks and aggressive drums, allowing the dust to settle before a stomping breakdown. You think it’s all over, but Olly’s vocals kick back in for the last word in the final chorus, symbolic of the fact that the toxic relationship continues to drag him back for more.
The music video was released on February 12, and Bathtub continue to plan for a packed 2021. They’re set to release Volume 2 Bathtub Live featuring some of the tracks recorded from The Honey Box, with plans for a couple more singles and a bigger release towards the back quarter of the year. Bathtub are certainly a band to watch in 2021, echoed by a number of people in the local music scene.
BBC Radio Stoke’s Lucas Yeomans – who co-hosts The Honey Box – said: “Olly has the potential to be one of the stand out frontmen in Stoke-on-Trent bands, or, in fact ever. We saw them live on The Honey Box and they blew the whole studio away. One of my favourite performances on the show. They’re incredible live. There will be lots to look forward to in 2021.”
Record Producer Sam Bloor added: “They are a great young band with a clear vision and a lot of drive. Anything is possible when you have the right attitude and passion for what you do. They’re always a pleasure to work with.”
Bathtub’s episode of The LeopHEARD Podcast is out on March 1.
Watch The Honey Box Season 5 episode one, featuring Bathtub, Bark Mailey and Harry Holmes below: