With their sophomore album, Anthelia, Bottomless Coffee Band expands on what they’ve done before; but they’re also more sharply focused. The Cape Town-based husband-and-wife duo defines the album title, Anthelia, as “the ability to see beauty in everything and everyone around us,” and the title track builds on that idea, with lines like “through all the weakness, you seem to see something good in me,” sung in strong male-female harmonies.
Speaking of their voices, both Lourens and Esté Rabé have strong, confident singing voices and impressive ranges – especially apparent when arranged well and complementing each other. And it’s in those kind of details like vocal harmonies, and rich instrumental arrangements where Anthelia certainly goes further and better than their previous release, Room With a View.
Truth in Love, for example, probably started its life as a pretty simple song, but backing strings, Esté’s inarticulate soprano, and march-like drumming builds it up into something big and powerful. Love is Real has a playful ukulele-and-harmonica feel, with African percussive elements added to give it a big, worldly feel.
The album opens with Ashes to Ashes, which has an acoustic guitar base, and impressive soprano chorus vocals by Esté which makes it less of a singalong track and more of a environmentally conscious anthem. This, together with Afrikaans tracks Ek Sal Wag and Lig Wat Skyn especially, show that Bottomless Coffee Band isn’t stuck in what worked before, and Anthelia is exploring new terrain without fear of offending or losing their edge.
On this album they worked with producer Theo Crous who’s proven in the past that anyone from Springbok Nude Girls to Van Coke Kartel to Chris Chameleon and Dan Patlansky can bloom under his guidance.
Overall, Anthelia has a more pop-feel than Room With a View’s straight folk, and succeeds as an easy and accessible album, with fun beats and diverse sounds that keep it congenial, invigorating, and lively.
Floris sometimes writes things when he’s not watching movies or playing video games or editing videos or folk-rock singing/songwriting.