Fresh from releasing their new LP ‘Bowling’ on Breakfast records, we chewed the fat with Bristol brothers Something Anorak.
Its been several years since we last heard from the brotherly Bristol duo of Chris and James Barrett. Having released their debut LP Tiny Island back in 2014 and a split EP with fellow lo-fi icons Gorgeous Bully, the band seemed to disappear into the ether. But out of said ether they have reemerged with another glorious full-length in tow. Bowling, an ode to the band’s favourite pastime, is the sound of a duo thriving on the limitations of a minimal stand-up drum kit and single guitar. Their penchant for fragile vocal melodies and skewed guitar riffs set against the often primal and driving drums provides a fascinating tension within the bands music. Few acts manage to evoke such emotional power from a full quota of instruments and studio equipment, never mind Something Anorak’s spartan setup. As such, Bowling is a lo-fi triumph.
We caught up with the band shortly after their album launch show in Bristol to talk bowling, the Bristol scene and the constraints of performing as a duo.
How did Something Anorak come into existence?
“We’ve grown up playing together as well as doing some music every now and then. I (Chris) started doing solo shows under the name whilst we were both in another band called Brahminy Kites, that fizzled out and we focussed on making Something Anorak more of a band thing, about 5 months later we put ‘Tiny Island‘, our first record out.”
Are you a duo out of desire or necessity?
“From day one we made a conscious decision to work with only a few instruments and family members to force ourselves to try and make something interesting with these self imposed constraints. Also, I don’t know if you have ever been on tour with just a guitar, amp, floor tom, snare and cymbal? but it makes it a lot easier. That said we hardly ever go on tour.”
Your new record, ‘Bowling‘, has been released via Bristol imprint Breakfast Records. How did this come about?
“We’ve been fans of what they do for a while, they seemed like a hard working bunch who put together really nice releases. We emailed them and then went for a pint. Lovely chaps who have been great at facilitating our laziness during the whole process of putting the album out.”
You’ve been sitting on this album for a while, why has it taken so long for the record to emerge?
“We had a little hiccup with a label in the past and it took the fun out of it for a while, so we focussed on other projects for a bit and about 6 months ago we released we were both itching to get back in a practice room and put this album out that we were proud of.”
Are you big fans of bowling? What’s the highest score you’ve attained at a bowling alley?
“We have a slight obsession with bowling, which developed at university in Falmouth when a big old mess of us would go for a bowl and tuck into a few 8 pint booze tubes. James’ top score is 300 and Chris’ top score is also an unbelievable 300.”
Bristol has produced some stellar bands as of late, are there any you want to give a shout out to?
“Pork Pie from Weston and Langkamer played at our album launch and both played amazing sets. We’ve always been big fans of Taos Humm and Edward Penfold, and a Heavy Lungs gig is one not to be missed.
Bowling is out now via Breakfast Records.
By George Percival