In Chicago’s cut-throat music scene, it’s rare to find a band as self-sufficient, forward-thinking and as conscious about their art as Bubbles Erotica. From the constantly shifting sounds they create to the lush cover art of their 2014 EP Elephants Never Forget to their expansive, mind-bending videos: this is a band that, while eager to stand-out, doesn’t seem pre-occupied with waiting for someone else to get them heard. They’re forever creating, always two steps ahead of anyone else in their genre, locally or otherwise.
Vocalist Philip Edward, guitarist Michael Hasso and bassist Colin Stone built a strong foundation having played together in heavy-metal outfit Blood Loss, touring the country and self-releasing a whopping four EP’s and music video before wrapping up the project in 2008. Bringing in drummer Brad Springer two years later, the quartet worked their craft and 2013 saw the release of a three-song demo along with two videos: The cavalcade of goofball antics in “Morton’s Groove” and a moving cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins standard “I Put A Spell On You.”
Last year, the band continued their climb with the four-song Elephants Never Forget EP, growing even more into their own as powerful, original performers and songwriters. Influences vary widely, from Queens of the Stone Age’s tongue-in-cheek sexuality to Tool’s burgeoning science-fiction fetish, yet they all co-mingle and work well on the same release, and even sometimes in the same song. “Super Unnatural” – for which the band’s video was chosen by Vimeo as a staff pick recently – is buoyed by minimalist beats and a hard-hitting groove, before blossoming into a killer chorus, while piano-fueled ballad “People” brings Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman’s comical world-weariness to modern rock with expressive, defined charisma.
“Inhaling Ghosts” and “FreakNasty” both ride sultry guitar riffage and sexual energy, allowing both to thrive but never having one get suffocated by the other. The latter even sports a visually-stunning video that harkens back to MTV’s Alternative Nation or 120 Minutes programs, as belly dancers and other freak-show types clown around entertainingly as the band blasts away through over five-minutes of technical vibrancy. The bottom line is these are songs that a both high-school student and their prog-rock-loving uncle can both dig without embarrassment or guilty pleasure status. These guys rock hard, have fun and are paving their own way. All of us can either hop on board or get the hell out of the way.