The blues has always has delivered its subject matter with a nod and a wink. Sure, there's the melancholy side about broken relationships, dead dogs and doing jail time; sometimes it's pretty racy too, but fundamentally it's a genre entrenched in human experience – happy and sad.
Being no stranger to the latter, Bloater's previous release, Luxury Hobo, was born from his struggles with depression and had a more earthy feel as a result. Pills is less introspective, more satirical and prepared to view the world once more with tongue firmly in cheek.
The titular track opens the album, setting the tone for a round of blues that doesn't take itself too seriously, but is happy to confront some meaningful issues. The track has overtones of Screamin' Jay Hawkins in the way that Bloater is able to bring out the humour, despite the darker commentary on our obsession with pill popping.
Friday Night's Alright For Drinking is the first of three tracks that draw inspiration from more well known songs - even if it's only in the name. The dude in Slackers Paradise would make Homer Simpson look like a model employee and The Digital Number of the Beast highlights our dependency on technology.
Unnaturally Charming taps into Bloaters love of horror film with a sinister blues edge which is echoed in Mouse Organ. Oops Sorry goes a little bit Chas N' Dave with a quintessentially British feel and some more bonkers lyrics. The somber ukulele track, A Life Full of Debt, bookends the album swapping our addiction from pills to consumerism.
The musical style might be blues based, but for the most part the standard riffs and southern tonality are a platform for Bloater's sharp turn of phrase and blue collar charm. Just like the blues masters of yesteryear, Bloater understands what makes us human and he also knows how to make an instantly appealing album that's addictive listening too.
Groupie Rating 4/5