Shoe-gaze, Britpop, Trippy, whatever you want to call it, Chris Hearn seems to feel Born Blonde’s first full-length deserves a bit of your time.
So, I canât help but notice that a lot of releases that have come across my âdeskâ as of late have been dubbed âshoe gazeâ, that sub-sub-genre of the 90s that seems to have made a bit of resurgence. Why all of a sudden is this happening? Iâm not complaining, mind you. I dig whatâs going on. I just bring this issue up because there is a bit of a âshoe gazeâ thing here with Born Blondeâs debut full length as many other reviewers and interviewers have been pointing out. Sometimes these sub-sub-genres just throw me off. Iâve always liked the âsoundâ that Born Blonde have, but is it âshoe gazeâ? Who comes up with these genre names anyway? And then there is âBritpopâ. Is this Britpop? Some say yes. To that I sayâ¦okay. But, then I thought Britpop was supposed to be somewhat of an anti-shoe gaze backlash. The enemies have met and blossomed with âWhat the Desert Taught Youâ? Interesting development!
This album is a bit of a throwback to the mid-90s, indeed, although honestly to me it doesnât sound dated. It sounds fresh and new. Maybe thatâs because I myself am a decade or so out of date. I will make a few comparisons to, say, Coldplay, or to Duncan Sheik, or maybe The Verve, or Wonder Wall-esque Oasis. There are even a few similarities with Mystery MachineÂ and Cheetahâs, two bands I recently did reviews of, though they are a lot more guitar oriented than Born Blonde.
The first single off of this album is Signs of Fear, and itâs a good way to kick things off, although there are several songs on here that can easily put forth as âsinglesâ. This is a beautiful, brilliant pop song; catchy with nice dreamy instrumentation, nice tempo and feel. It just grabs me and wraps me up in pleasantness!
Are you feeling it? Iâm feeling it. Letâs all feel it together, shall we! Whatâs with that voice as well? Itâs so nice and dreamy, yet has that certain strain at times which gives it a bit of a rawer edge. The use of slide guitar works well for me. I like that a quite a lot. Okay, letâs just say I like this song. Itâs up there on my list of favourites of the last few months, if not whole year already.
Now for the rest of the album: Yup, for the most part that all checks out as good too. The thing I like about these guys is that they have a hipster kind of thing going on, are sufficiently creative and quirky, yet are accessible, likeable and familiar; like a warm, fuzzy blanket! I donât know if any band wants to hear that. But, itâs what I feel, man. Itâs comforting to listen to, and I appreciate that. In some reviews and interviews, the word âtrippyâ comes up at times and I would agree with that. Basically, though itâs comfortable and familiar. Itâs layered with influences seeming to come from a fairly broad range of places to create some quite nice, interesting sounds and attractive songs.
Several songs on here (Solar, Radio Bliss, I Just Want To Be) have been released already with a variety of mixes. This is Born Blondeâs first full-length and itâs a good one that I believe will probably put them in a good place to capture a wide audience. Itâs accessible enough that radio, if they are smart, will snatch it up quick (if they havenât already. Iâm not up on what radio has snatched as of late). And I think itâs sufficiently cool that the indie and hipster kids will dig it as well. If you think too much about what category itâs under, who they sound like, and how you should feel about it youâll miss the sheer beauty of the well-crafted, well written songs. So just relax, close your eyes (unless you are driving or operating power tools)â¦and enjoy. PS: I donât have a desk.
Now, go check them out on the net. Their official site is on tumblr. Of course they are on FacebookÂ and twitter. You can find, download or purchase a ton of their music over on SoundcloudÂ and bandcamp. They have a YouTube page going as well where you will find some really nice videos.
All words by Chris Hearn, more writing by Chris on Louder Than War can be found here.