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For a genre as enticing as dream pop, you don’t hear enough of it these days*. Well maybe now you will, if oddly named newcomers Blonde Tongues’ debut has anything to do with it. Straight out of the nineties (literally, that’s when they were born) the Brisbane four piece are doing the niche branch of alternative rock a great service. You might be thinking “Are they really? I’ve never heard of them”. I say you have now. Give them time and your friends will too.
Blonde Tounges’ debut is a promising dream pop effort. They may be fresh to the muso life but are making impressive strides without resting on their laurels.
Cal, Aidan, Jack, and Dougal (terrific name) are pretty fresh on the scene, only uploading their first track Seilu onto Triple J Unearthed in July of last year. They immediately gained favourable reviews from presenters and since then things have moved rather quickly. Allowing little time to sit on their laurels, more accomplished follow-up single Hey Good Lookin’ was released in November and both tracks appear on the band’s self-titled debut album that came out on in April this year.
Three of the four members seem to be wearing glasses and foggy vision is just one of the effects their music evokes for the listener. They list influences such as Slowdive and Cocteau Twins and it’s easy to see why if you listen to those artists, especially Slowdive who create divine walls of sound. Blonde Tongues bring the nineties surging back to life with an album that will suit all seasons. It will heap further dirt on your mound of misery in winter and vibe you way out on summer road trips.
It certainly opens drenched in honey, the languid Wedding Bells providing a good introduction to their overall sound characterised by echoes, reverb, unintelligible lyrics and also some beautiful guitar and percussion work. Seilu continues the tradition, fully immersing the audience in a tangible mist as they sit at a pier or above city smog. Third track Beer is both a highlight and a weakness. Musically it impresses with gorgeously nostalgic guitar strumming but lyrically it falls a little flat. An attempt at actual singing is made and it doesn’t work all that well here. The band plays to their strengths when their lyrics are mumbled or exhaled rather than articulated.
In saying that the same approach delivers results on the best track of the album Hey Good Lookin’, a tranquillised head banger that seems like a bit of good up-beat fun until suddenly they release a waterfall like torrent of energy and sound that has the sedative wearing off and you bopping more violently. Cal’s voice starts to get smothered by the distorted low-fi wave that sweeps through. This keeps up unabated until at the end, the tide washes away to leave you lying blissfully roughed up.
The album continues in the same vein with Glass Cigar but slows down whilst somehow also becoming denser with When You Come Down Blue. This one takes you up into the atmosphere to drift six minutes away in the safety of your own thoughts. The breathy lyrics, not the least bit understandable, shroud you comfortably in material made of zoning out. Soppy Desmond follows, breaking the mood and the album ends with Anna, a short and sweet lullaby that should put you off to sleep in the nicest of ways when you listen just before bedtime.
So there you have it. If you feel like to want to chill out for a while, or become euphoric without smoking, then this album is one I would recommend for you. A distinctive debut with only a few weaknesses from a young and promising band. For those interested in keeping track of the lads, they’re touring as we speak in support of The Love Junkies.
*Ed. Unless you read Happy all the time, we’re always covering that stuff.
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