On a first listen, The Bottlecap Boys sound exactly how you'd expect a band with their name to sound: boot-stomping jug band, string-infused Americana. You think, Hey, they're pretty good. A few moments belie their youth and suggest a little more polishing might be in order, but then again, barroom hootenanny music isn't meant to sound overly slick.
On subsequent listens, you realize that this rollicking exuberance is actually being fueled by some fairly virtuosic musicianship: the intricate harmonies in "The Dream," the frequent upright bass, the caesuras, the changes in tempo. "Try to Try" has some fancy footwork in the chorus, the likes of which I've only heard in light opera. Fingers and picks fly. This isn't just another whiskey-addled, old-timey band with pawnshop instruments; these are serious musicians playing fun music.
The up-and-coming Pacific Northwest band will be one to watch for, assuming they can keep up their momentum and produce that all-important first album. With only five songs available for listening, a ridiculously written bio and no credit given anywhere to their invaluable back-up singers (c'mon guys!), let's hope their business acumen catches up with their musical savvy.
The Bottlecap Boys play Thu., June 28, at the Bitter Root Brewery at 6 PM for free and later that night at Monk's Bar at 10 PM. $3. On Fri., June 29, at 10 PM, the band plays the Badlander with The Hasslers. $5.