Janglepophub are so very proud to have been among the first to ‘discover’ the Belfast based purveyors of the finest jangly, left field dream-pop that are the mighty Bobsled Team.
Probably feeling that the fifteen squillion begging mails I sent them was never going to stop unless he acquiesced to my request, Oliver Mort agreed to write a track by track analysis of their brilliant The Colours Blur album (see our review here) which is now out on self released vinyl here.
So please enjoy, as he calls it, Oliver’s “Musings on The Colours Blur” below:
This Pink Moon
bobsled team songs tend to be dreamy, a little bit left field. Melodies float into my head and I don’t really know where they come from. One night I wrote a little guitar song about a pink moon. Kimberley really liked it and encouraged me to release this one as our first single. I thought people would think it was…well, weird. Janglepophub was the first blog to review it. They said, “Dreamy. Weird. Brilliant!” The next thing we knew it was being played on BBC radio. I guess… weird is a good thing?
You’re so Cool
You’re so Cool was the first song I wrote on the album. An old, beat-up 8 track recorder from the 1990s initially captures all our sound. We wrote the songs pretty much in the running order they appear on the album. The little machine is so honest: no digital dramatics or wizardry. We just turned the Fender up loud and let the vocals float amongst the guitar fuzz, bass, and drums. It sounded great. We sang about a summer, somewhere far away…
We chose You’re so Cool as the second single. The blogs – including Janglepophub – said some really nice things. Janglepophub and its readers are so kind—they sent us little messages of encouragement and some even bought our song. There’s a real communal spirit. It also got played on the radio, like in Thunder Bay, Canada—a place where you can actually bobsled.
Drive is very dreamy and has a cool choral ending. Kimberley came up with that. We’re a great team. It was released as the third single and caught the attention of some hip American blogs in places like New York. I’ve always had a love for the New York underground scene, bands like Sonic Youth pasting together their little zines and creating noise out of pawnshop bought guitars. We also started to get really lovely support from home. Fresh on the Net picked it as one of the best tracks and thought that we sounded like a Sub Pop band.
Some people have asked the meaning behind our songs. We prefer not to say and let the listener have their own feelings about it. I did once own a green Kombi van and drove it all over Australia. It was called Kermit. I always wonder what happened to it…
I imagine this to be the type of song that might be found on an old cassette in the back of Neil Young’s pickup truck.
This sounds weird but I see music in colour. I remember Lullaby began as a simple little lyric then suddenly my brain was a blur of colourful melodies. The album’s artwork kind of represents that oddness. We recorded Lullaby very quickly. A quiet little guitar. Strings. Bass. Drums. I’m always scared of losing the moment.
We liked the idea of going totally analogue. We visited Julie McLarnon’s vintage studio in the wild countryside of the Mournes to demo two songs. A donkey would wander in if you didn’t shut the door properly. She encouraged the “happy accidents” and staying in the moment.
We ended up, however, recording the whole album ourselves, upgrading the equipment from the 8 track to better capture the drums. The songs were recorded late into the night—we live in a pretty cool part of Belfast, quite a bohemian type of vibe, surrounded by other artists, photographers and musicians. There’s so much creativity in the air. Never Mind is definitely our most raw and guitar heavy song. Expect when the guitars aren’t playing.
One summer, a few years ago, we watched the sun go down on a beach in Biarritz. There were loads of surfers still in the water, the line up was pretty packed. Yet one surfer caught our eye—she had her own style going on, doing her thing, longboarding so effortlessly cool on the waves. I guess that’s a good way to be, just do your own thing in your own way.
Can you Stay?
We’re pretty carefree when it comes to melody, our songs are heartfelt and honest. The drumming is cool in this song, and the melodies build to a big chorus. We daydream a lot, our thoughts are made like balloons…
We heard it being played on American radio recently. “Based out of Belfast,” the presenter said, “they are a mysterious band that goes by bobsled team and we just heard Can you Stay? Oh, you know what listeners, looking at the clock here unfortunately I can’t stay because my time is up and that was the last song.” We thought that was kind of funny.
A weird little shoegaze song. “Sometimes the butterflies in my mind catch your eye.” We started to get some nice messages about when the album was due to be finished. We decided to release it on a short run of vinyl. A guy called Loz mastered the album—he practices Zen archery to refresh his headspace between jobs. We like Loz.
We’re now sending it to places like Ireland, Spain, Japan, Scotland, America, Denmark, Qatar. We’re totally DIY—we pack it by hand and send it with a little note of thanks, perhaps some lyrics quickly scribbled. Now we need to figure out a way of getting all these cool people from across the world into the same room together so that we have enough fans for a gig.
A little strummed guitar. Some chimes. A French horn. I love Pet Sounds.
Just a big thank you to Darrin, Janglepophub, and all the wonderful readers.
Your support means a lot. You’ve been here since the start.
bobsled team x