Dose - Dr Bombay (self released)
It’s pretty bleeding obvious where Brisbane’s Dr Bombay is aiming. It’s that elusive but enviable sweet spot - right where melodic pop intersects with loud and fast rock and roll. Bullseyes are a rare thing but, more often than not, the Bombays land close to their target.
Sydney might be shrivelling up and Melbourne has so much going on that at times it appears to be eating itself, but Brisbane’s rock and roll scene remains viably focused, “owning” a few venues in and around the inner-city. It stays strong because it has a centre. Like many contemporaries, Dr Bombay is four (mostly old) guys getting together for a weekend blast without ambitions to conquer the world, but they sure have this pop-rock thing nailed.
The most notable stand-out on Dr Bombay’s c.v. is Voodoo Lust, singer Gary Slater’s ‘80s band. Voodoo Lust were one of those hard-working acts who arrived on an amazingly busy Sydney scene and threatened to break-out, but never quite managed to emerge into the open air. It wasn’t through lack of trying and Slater still still has swagger and a bouncy pop presence that you don’t stumble over every day. He writes all Dr Bombay’s songs and they’re keepers.
Stewart de Lacy on guitar (Kewpie Doll, Sanity Assassins, Krank/Spank) and Greg Baxter on bass (Presidents 11, Arctic Circles) have done the yards, too, while the less road-worn Joey Thorburn provides the important youthful element on drums.
“Satisfied” is a promising opener but it’s bettered by the hooky “That’s What I Like”, but “I’ll Tell Ya Something” and the bubblegum bliss of “Pop Song” set the melody bar even higher. Like a few people reading this, “What Am I To Do” is firmly stuck in the ‘80s with a rise-and-fall melody line and churning feel.
A lot of the songs hurtle along at mid-tempo and “What Part Of That Don’t You Understand” ramps the pace down a notch to good effect. Lyrically speaking, Slater’s closer to the Stones than Dylan and that’s not a bad thing when you’re mining this turf. If there’s a criticism, Dr Bombay sits just this side of pollte with the snarl sometimes contained.
The engine room is bouncy in the right places with an easy fluency in Baxter’s sympathetic bass-lines. De Lacy applies the right amount of guitar grit to the sheen to make sure it never gets too shiny, while Jeff Lovejoy’s production is clear-headed and faithful to the band’s sound.
If you suspect you know what you’ll be in for then you’re probably right. This sort of rock-pop never gets old in these parts. Get a dose.