Following on from 2016’s Luxury Hobo, Surrey born Bloater re-focusses himself and Pills is a reflection of him having a clearer head. “I guess a lot of stuff happened on the Luxury Hobo tour. Maybe after the depression, my minds a bit more open and turned on to things, so I have observed more.”
Recorded in December 2017 with producer Adam Whalley, the band trimmed down to a power trio of Big Boy Bloater (Vocals/Guitar), Matt Cowley (Drums) and Steven Oates (Bass) for the new album and it kicks off with the rip-roaring title track Pills, an extension from the previous album and highlights the constant need for pills today but has a sinister edge. “I think the sinister side to it is the pharmaceutical companies want you to take these drugs and they want you to keep on thinking you’re ill so they can sell you tablets. It’s gonna get to the point where you’re taking anti-biotics for everything, eventually they won’t work and we’re all gonna die from a super flu.”
The album continues with the autobiographical Friday Night’s Alright For Drinking and into the bleakly observant feet-moving Saturday Night Desperation Shuffle gliding seamlessly on to the gloriously poppy Stop Stringing Me Along which tells the tale of cigar-smoking scoundrels who promise the moon and to make you a million dollars, but ultimately, nothing happens. The angry undertones are masked by the candy coated exterior. “I’ll either write autobiographical or invent these characters, and because you can do so much more with them, anything’s possible. You can make them as outrageous as you want, I like to blur the line between the two” he explains.
A lover of all things horror, especially Amicus and Hammer Horror, there are always nods towards the ominous or outlandish. If Luxury Hobo’s, It Came Outta the Swamp was B-Movie then Unnaturally Charming is more Hitchcock. More sinister tales weave themselves into place on the beautifully juxtaposed Oops Sorry and the Tom Waits-esque Mouse Organ
She Didn’t Even Buy A Ticket follows a real incident. “It happened at a gig,” he remembers. “Someone actually gate-crashed looking for her husband, who was out on a date with another woman.” The story didn’t end there, at a later show he was talking to the audience about his new songs when, at the end of the night, two people came up to him and said, ‘that couple you talked about, that was us’. “Did I feel red faced that night” he laughs.
In the finale, we find out about what happened to our friend the Swamp Monster from Luxury Hobo on the beautifully poignant Ukulele strummed album closer A Life Full of Debt.
More than ever, the band effortlessly flit through styles and pace creating an album full of depth, emotion, humour, anger and sheer fun, all the time keeping the thread that makes Big Boy Bloater & The LiMiTs such a unique proposition. “I always used to like the Portmanteau horror films where they have 3 or 4 different stories in the film. So you’ve always got this constant change and you never really got bored of one story and then there this theme tying it all together.”
Over the last two years the band have toured the UK to packed shows, headlined Wychwood Festival, pulled in new fans at Camden Rocks Festival, supported Joanne Shaw Taylor, performed on the back of a pickup truck for a charity chili night, played with The Quireboys at a brewery and enjoyed “one of the most enjoyable” gigs they’ve ever done at Ramblin’ Man Fair in 2017. “When we got on stage, the marquee was absolutely rammed, there were people in the front row singing along and I was like ‘how do you know that.’” The response to the show was incredible, it seems as if every show they have done since, they’ve had someone come up to them and say they saw them at Ramblin’ Man.
Buoyed by the incredible shows, the fan reaction and the momentum that was building, another memorable moment came playing The West End Centre in Aldershot for the first time, his hometown venue, and selling it out. “That’s the place where I grew up and saw loads of blues guys when I was only about 8-10 years old – Big Joe Duskin, Slim Gaillard and more contemporary acts”.
He counts fans in the shape of Imelda May, Mark Lamarr, Craig Charles, Paul Jones and Jools Holland, who called him “one of the great bluesmen of our time”. Following the release of Luxury Hobo Classic Rock Magazine, called him the “The gravel-throated don of R&B”, The Blues Magazine named him in the Top 100 Blues singers of all time whilst Vive le Rock said “This stomping album of swamp R&B and gritty rock ‘n’ roll holds nothing back” and it was #25 in their albums of the year list – this then earned the band a nomination for ‘Best Roots Band’ at the 2018 Vive le Rock Awards keeping impressive company with other nominees including Madness and The Selecter.. Blues Matters rejoiced saying there was “a barrel load of rhythms” and Guitar Techniques called him a “UK Blues Phenomenon.”
Pills marks an even more ambitious direction for The LiMiTs, combining a melting pot of ideas beyond its blues roots and entwines Bloater’s dark humour and personal experiences. “I’m probably never quite serious enough, but I couldn’t do it any other way really,” he says.
It’s the anthology style that makes this album such an engaging proposition, the twists and turns always find you revealing something new, hidden beneath the surface. Pills will be released on 15th June 2018 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.
Big Boy Bloater and The LiMiTs are:
Big Boy Bloater – Vocals/Guitar
Matt Cowley – Drums
Steven Oates – Bass
Released: 15th June 2018
02.Friday Night’s Alright For Drinking
03.The Saturday Night Desperation Shuffle
04.Stop Stringing Me Along
09.She Didn’t Even Buy A Ticket
10.This Ain’t Rufus
11.The Digital Number Of The Beast
12.A Life Full Of Debt
Label: Mascot Label Group