Big Life Desire
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Big Life Desire


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"dribs and drabs album review"

Big Life Desire is, in exactitude, multi-talented Keith Harbottle; Harbottle does everything here except the percussion!! And, 'Dribs And Drabs' could only be a product of these fair isles of ours; any other country would've carried on refining, layering, dubbing, adding, bulking-out until all the simplistic charm had been swamped by unnecessary 'sound'.   British through and through then - quirky British, innovative British, charmingly British! 
So, you've probably guessed by now that 'Dribs And Drabs' is nothing but a quirky, simple work - wrong again!! What Harbottle does is he puts his charming, almost conversational poetry to equally charming and simplistic music. Yep, there's a certain British charm here, something that we do so well, something that's hard to describe but easy to recognise. Think along the lines of Pet Shop Boys as far as lyrics goes. Then take away much of the electro over-kill of the 'Boys' and put in its place some really expressive and empathetic instrumentation that's never allowed to override either words or musical emotion. Ok, are you there yet? 'Dribs And Drabs' is a gentle jaunt of modernistic musical simplicity that is probably more complex that it sounds; Harbottle has a way of execution that just sounds so unhurried, well considered, polite and yes, charming!
Now, I'm not gonna kid anybody here, I don't actually see this album being a massive seller; to me the whole Big Life Desire ethos is one of endearing nursery-crime, a cool and expressive poetic outing designed to be tangible and reflective. This isn't dark, it's not melancholic, it aint morose. But, by the same token it isn't exactly frivolous and it's not really comedic and it aint fanciful. But, it definitely is up-lifting in a weird way! 'Dribs And Drabs' has a certain way about it that's unassuming but remarkably contagious. And, it's full of melody and whistlealongability. It sort of creeps up on you and you can't help falling under its magical spell; Harbottle knows what he's doing here, he doesn't go for the jugular instead he stalks in under your guard and implants his cheeky wares inside your mind leaving you hooked and pretty much reeled in. 'Dribs And Drabs' by Big Life Desire is clever and quite compelling. Harbottle makes it all sound so easy and so every-day that you'll end up thinking 'hey, I bet I could do that' - but you'd be wrong, you couldn't! 'Dribs And Drabs' by Big Life Desire is an interesting work; as British as The Queen, as wholesome as 'bread with nowt taken out' and as infectious as the clap but less worrying! Clever stuff from a talented and shrewd one-man-band!
Peter J Brown aka toxic pete ( - toxic pete

"Zeitgeist review of single"

There's no normal reason why this should be good - it just is. And that's one of the beauties of music. It's not supposed to make sense.
One for the Robert Wyatt / Kevin Coyne fans out there, methinks.

"Power of Pop single review"

BIG LIFE DESIRE Your Love Is (Whimsical) English singer-songwriter Keith Harbottle is Big Life Desire and Your Love Is is Keith’s debut (3-track) single. The general vibe here is 80s post punk/new wave which is fine by me. Though the pleasant Your Love Is may be designated the A-side, it is the two B-sides that prick these ears. “In Pieces” has an interesting Asian flavour with a Blur bent whilst “She’s Got It All” is a catchy ditty, which recalls Ray Davies of the Kinks in his structure and delivery. A promising debut. - Kevin Mathews (Power of Pop)


Debut album: dribs and drabs - released on Platform Records, 29 Sep 2008.

Debut CD single: Your Love Is (containing also In Pieces and She's Got It All) - released on Whimsical Records (catalogue no: ICAL3, distributed by Pinnacle/Shellshock). Available on iTunes and Amazon.



Do not be fooled by the misleading moniker. The second release on Whimsical/Platform Records from the London one-man band, Keith Harbottle, is none other than a collection of carefully crafted and considered songs perfect for happy, lazy days and more contemplative moments.

The first single from the album, So Inclined, leads the way establishing a robust sound with a strong, defiant rhythm section and seductive guitars musing on the pressures of expectations and choosing your own path. This then relaxes effortlessly into the understated mournfulness of quirky love song, The Road Less Travelled, with its gentle 80s flavour and acoustic guitar. Piano pop track Wait would proudly fit on a Belle And Sebastian album – the breezy melody belying the insightful, often cutting lyrics while After All sounds like an updated Kinks track. The self-reflexive tone of If Success Came My Way raises smiles as Keith mockingly considers what fame would do to him over sparkling synths.

Favourable reviews following his first release compared Keith to a number of the music world's finest purveyors of off-kilter indie-pop – Ian Brodie, Ian Dury, Stuart Murdoch, Baby Bird – but still he has maintained a sound all of his own. Keith creates songs that trace stories and characters that all of us can relate to – awkward break-ups and moments, the friend that knows best, dealing with change – all in his own unique way with sunny harmonies, jangling melodies and despite using machines and synths to plug musical gaps, the album still has a wholesome, organic air surrounding it.

The lo-fi, almost DIY ethic of the album, akin to that of Swedish indie-pop, affords the advantage of appreciating everything, not least Keith’s plaintive, honest vocals and lyrics. The result is sharp, accessible pop songs that will make you smile, sigh, tap your feet and smile again.

(Claire Gilligan)