Whereas last week’s DotW began on a meditation of the current trends circling the musical world, this week we deal with a band which evokes the ambience of times long past whilst still being very much a reflection of certain contemporary sounds.
BLONDS are the combined forces of Cari Rae and Jordy Asher who utilise their own romance as a mine for exploring dark themes of love and longing through the novel combining of a whole cavalcade of sounds from the past and present. Grabbing from such wide-spread genres as Motown, psychedelia , 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and blues the duo have generated a collection of tracks that is difficult to temporally pin down. Lana Del Ray could (read: should) learn a lesson or two on how to do nostalgia from BLONDS, as the end result of this combining of a centuries worth of guitar pop and rock is a glimmering, macabre success.
Debut album ‘The Bad Ones’ contrastingly has both tunes that feel right at home, with lead single ‘Time’ sitting easily within the current frame of indie-pop, and at the other end of the spectrum songs like ‘Mr. E’ which feels as if taken directly from a 60’s Bond movie in both title and sound. ‘Magic’ has the almost cutesy male and female back and forth you hear every day on the radio courtesy of bands such as San Cisco whilst ‘Run’ wouldn’t be out-of-place in a black and white noir. A lot of the tunes are in fact very cinematic with some seductive and at times melodramatic vocals reminiscent of a silver-screen vixen from a Billy Wilder film.
This triumphant melding of old and new is at the core of what is a fairly dark -themed album but the sometimes sombre subject matter such as in ‘Falling’ (“fear is a crippling thing/stop the sirens waltzing/wave goodbye to the dark ocean floor”) is well balanced with twangy guitar and electronic sounds which often elevate it into a dream pop vibe evocative of Beach House.
Whereas Ms. Ray ends up sounding like a drawling imitation of a vintage cliché, BLONDS flourish in utilising Americana pop of yore, marrying it with the new and creating a totally unique sound which is at once both captivating and transitory.