Chicago’s own Bottomless Pit is back to shake listeners up with its third full-length album, Shade Perennial. The band consists of past members from Silkworm, Seam, and .22, though Bottomless Pit has been the main focus for the seasoned quartet since its start in 2005.
The band has always ridden on impassioned, fuzzy instrumentals, which is still the case with this newest addition to its catalog. Shade Perennial showcases guitarist Andy Cohen and baritone guitarist Tim Midyett’s chops better than ever in the eight-song, fast-paced release, as well as engaging songwriting and Cohen’s signature yowling.
Bottomless Pit has a straight forward, classic style of writing that is a bit alien these days. The in-your-face approach makes the group seem so confident that you can’t help but love it.
Cohen and Midyett’s mastery of effects is haunting, allowing them to explore domains only truly seasoned musicians can reach.
The two former Silkworm bandmates have been making music together since the late ’80s, which is evident in their expertise with guitar.
The group has been steadily growing its fanbase and developing its sound over its eight-year existence, becoming increasingly heavier and experimental. The gradual shift toward a more suitable sound can be attributed to a number of things, including Midyett’s perfected role in the band.
Midyett’s choice in instrument is a beautiful thing in itself and adds a new element to Bottomless Pit’s overall sound. The fact that he plays a baritone guitar as opposed to a standard model lets him literally reach new lows and solidifies the already thick tunes, especially when both guitarists incorporate heavy distortion.
It is apparent that the guitars are the most important aspect of Shade Perennial, even more important than the lyrics or vocals, for the most part. Songs like “Null Set,” with an insane, J Mascis-esque guitar solo, depend on the exceptional skill of Cohen and Midyett, who play off of each other perfectly. This song adequately defines Bottomless Pit’s sound with its menacing, overdriven guitars and killer solo, showing the band’s true post-punk roots.
This is not to say that the two other members, bassist Brian Orchard of .22 and drummer Chris Manfrin of Seam, sit there drooling while Cohen and Midyett take all the glory.
They play an equally important role in the final product, but strategically sit in the background and back up the bulk of the focus. This is not always the case, however—they take the front seat and show their importance on groovy songs like “Full of Life” and “Bare Feet.”
As a whole, the band comes together to form one uniform ball of sound. It’s loud, raw, high-quality music that grabs your attention from the start and keeps you interested through the entire 32-minute release. The intro track “Fleece” is an engaging jam that sets a high standard, which is matched from beginning to end. The album comes to a close with the monumental “Felt a Little Left,” which becomes increasingly overridden with fuzz and feedback.
For a veteran group of musicians, Bottomless Pit sounds as fresh as ever on its third full-length. Shade Perennial is a solid collection of songs that proves these guys are still in their prime with a lot more left in them.
Bottomless Pit – Shade Perennial tracklist:
- “Incurable Feeling”
- “Null Set”
- “Bare Feet”
- “Sacred Trench”
- “Full of Life”
- “Horse Trading”
- “Felt a Little Left”