Well, I tried to get out of my airy-fairy/haunting female vocalist rut, but then I went and listened to Blouse. And lead singer Charlie Hilton just reeled me in with her enchantingly shoegazey voice.
Starting on the decidedly post-punk self-titled debut in 2011, and into this year’s Imperium, Blouse have put out two albums worthy of all the same love bestowed upon such similar acts as Wild Nothing, The XX, Wye Oak, Youth Lagoon and Craft Spells.
The above song is from Blouse and includes a great riff that is very reminiscent of The XX before becoming more complex in the second half. Other solid tracks here include the intro, “Firestarter”, “They Always Fly Away” and “Time Travel”, which appears be jetting back to the mid-’80s and ripping off “Metro” or some other song by Berlin. The rest of the album is filled with a bunch of average to above-average songs that continue to harken back to the ’80s.
Fast forward to this year’s release, and the band has taken on a more sultry persona. Gone, for the most part, are the post-punk guitars and replaced with a mellow, psychedelic — sometimes lo-fi — vibe.
The opening title track sets the tone immediately. But the best song here is “1,000 Years”.
After that, the album relaxes even more and starts to tread on Belle and Sebastian — maybe even Stereolab — territory on such songs as “In a Glass” and “Capote”.
Things pick up again on the back half of the album, which is highlighted by “In a Feeling Like This”. Other notable tracks include “Arrested”, “Trust Me” and “Happy Days”.
While this album fails to reach the precedent set by Blouse, it doesn’t fall too short of the bar and shows that the Portland-based trio has the potential to have a some longevity.