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It was hard to guess what type of music local Boston act Butterworth & Co were going to play when they arrived at the WERS studio. With one member wearing a Run DMC shirt, another wearing a paperboy hat, and another wearing a flannel shirt circa 1992, it was really anyone’s guess.
The band kicked off their set with the song “Pick Me Up”. The band consisted of an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar, and a bass. Despite the lack of their percussionist (the infamous “Butterworth”, who lent the band his name) the band played a perfect danceable rhythm, without missing a beat. The bass laid down a groovy back beat as the acoustic guitar carried the song and bluesy lead guitar filled in all of gaps. On top of it all was the bands most notable feature, the soulful and heart wrenching vocals. Hearing them play, it was hard to believe that the band formed a mere “8 months ago” and just “jam on the weekends, as a hobby”, for they sounded like a band that has been touring together for years, not one that has yet to play even one show.
The bands next song “Choppin”, was a love song with some interesting call and response between the vocals and the lead guitar. It started to become clear why everyone was complaining of it being “so hot” in the studio. Luckily, the WERS staff showed great restraint under the spell of Butterworth & Co’s baby making music, a situation that could have played out very differently under different circumstances. The song served to display the distinct timbre of the vocals, an individualistic quality that separates the band from easy, bland comparisons to other acts in their genre.
The song “Never Lookin Back” had an acoustic intro before breaking out with a smooth bass line and sharp lead vocals. What really carried the song was the falsetto vocals, an impressive display of vocal range. The song served as a perfect soundtrack to the impressionistic view of blurry headlights zooming by on the dark, wet streets through the foggy windows of the studio. The guitar meandered in a subtle, almost somber fashion that provided a potent sense of atmosphere.
The song “Everything” with the lyrics “If you give your everything to me, I promise to love you more than anything” was another song of romance, this one exploring its more painful side. The authentic of the emotion conveyed made the music seem like a necessary cathartic release for the band, a sonic Band-Aid to nurse their freshly broken hearts.
Their final song had more swagger and energy than any of its predecessors. The bass was bold and punchy, and the guitars wailed away confidently over the jubilant vocals. The lyrics followed suit, with lines like “never felt this good, never felt alive” And with their first show coming up, the lyrics felt relevant. The band now consists of “One welder, one lumber jack, one African Safari planner (true story) and Butterworth is just about everything else.” Despite the bands modest goals to have “just a local following” and to record “maybe a few demos” its hard to imagine a band with this much pop appeal won’t go much, much further.