After four long years of waiting, Bloods have finally gifted us with Feelings – the follow-up to their magnificent debut Work It Out which came out back in 2014 (I know, how was that four years ago?).
We were fed the first taste of the album last year with Bug Eyes, an absurdly catchy ’90s-inflicted pop-punk bash (as Bloods are prone to do), followed by Bring My Walls Down, Feelings, and most recently Step Back – three more upbeat earworms that all but confirmed that yes, this would be another excellent record from the Sydney/Melbourne three-piece. But Feelings goes beyond what you might think Bloods are.
As the singles proved, the band are still more than capable of pulling out fast, to-the-point, perfectly crafted pop tracks. But there’s a new side to the band on this record, it’s a little dreamier (Slow Break), a little darker (Broken Heart), and a little more introspective (pretty much every song on the album).
Dirk and MC from Bloods break down the tracks that influenced their awesome new album, Feelings. It’s a pretty solid playlist too. Listen below.
To help us understand a little more about what influenced the tracks on the album, Bloods have put together a playlist of what they were listening to and learning from when they recorded it.
“This is a collection of songs that influenced our album Feelings,” says singer, guitarist and lead songwriter, MC. “It’s probably a slightly broader pallet than most people would imagine, but I think the common thread across all of these songs is the balance of sweetness, attitude, power and pop. These are all really special songs to me because at each point in the songwriting process, they were either comforting or motivating me and inevitably, influenced the way this album came together.”
Bring My Walls Down
Sleigh Bells, End of The Line – MC
Sleigh Bells’ sound played a really big role in the way Feelings (the album) shaped up overall. In particular, to this song Bring My Walls Down. This was the first reference I found that really felt like it captured what we were trying to get across with the song. Something that was both gentle but also brutal at the same time. Sweet but cutting. Bring My Walls Down was the first song we had for the album and the first song we tracked and once we’d finished it, I remember feeling like I wanted to make it sound like ‘a drunk cheerleader’.
Bodyjar, You Say – Dirk
Stone-cold Aussie classic – can’t seem to avoid their influence when coming up with tunes! I saw these guys live loads of times, and they were/are a fantastic live band as well. I really think they are criminally underrated – just check out the manic urgency on this track! Definitely the vibe I had in mind originally for Bring My Walls Down.
The Go-Go’s, We Got The Beat & Icona Pop, I Love It – MC
When I wrote Feelings (the song), it all really came flowing out and it was written really quickly. Once it was done and we were ready to record it, I really felt like I really wanted it to feel like it was bursting with energy. Icona Pop’s I Love It was definitely the main reference for the chorus. I really wanted it to sound ‘chant like’ in the chorus and like something that people could scream out loud while they were driving, or something.
The Go-Go’s We Got The Beat was a reference that really how I made sense of the song in my head. I think both those songs have a common ‘vibe’ but I didn’t really ever think about that until after recording and mixing the track.
Letters to Cleo, I Want You To Want Me & Black Lips, O Katrina! – MC
There is no song that captures the energy and fun of 90s female-led punk-pop than Letters To Cleo’s cover of I Want You To Want Me. When I wrote Talk it felt like the energy and ‘vibe’ was pretty in line with fun, 90s pop. I’ve always been a huge LTC fan and have always dreamed of writing a song as fun as this cover.
O-Katrina! is one of my fave Black Lips songs and I absolutely love the guitar sounds in it. It was a huge reference when I was trying to find the right sound for the solo. I really wanted it to sound as wild as the guitars in this track.
Luscious Jackson, Naked Eye & Beck, Sexx Laws – MC
Step Back was probably the only song on the record that was directly influenced by another song. I love the song Naked Eye so much and I love the way it builds. I challenged myself to try writing something with lots of different elements and that kept on building much like Naked Eye does. I love all the small percussive elements that seem to slowly unfold throughout the verse of Naked Eye and then how the chorus just totally kicks off.
Beck’s drum sound was also a big influence on Step Back. I also loved how the lyrics of Sexx Laws are so outwardly confident. I tried to draw some inspo from Beck’s confidence when I was penning the lyrics for Step Back.
N C C
Mitski, Your Best American Girl – MC
When we went in to record this track and in the mix, this was a big influence for me. I think this song is absolute genius and the way she conveys both deep sadness with acceptance was definitely what I wanted to do with NCC. I also love how restrained this song feels at times and then how incredibly epic it feels in other parts.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Maps – Dirk
When it comes to emotion in music, Maps always felt like a bit of a high-water mark for me. It just really nailed a feeling, without actually using very many words – you knew what she was going though without it being spelt out for you. That was kind of the vibe with NCC – just to convey what it’s trying to get across, even before considering the lyric.
Green Day, She & Bleached, Next Stop – MC
When I wrote Bug Eyes I had been re-visiting my love for the Green Day album Dookie. She in particular is just such a perfect nugget of pop-punk. It actually came to me really quickly and when I was thinking about what I wanted to achieve with it, I decided I really wanted it to sound like it could’ve been released in 1994.
Next Stop by Bleached is just so perfectly obnoxious and fun. It was a really big influence when it came to working out how we wanted to convey the emotion of the lyrics on Bug Eyes.
Grandaddy, Now It’s On – MC
I love this song and the balance of restraint and wildness. It was a huge influence for Penny’s Song, particularly the guitar sounds. We ended up using about 10 pedals to get my guitar tone in the verses.
Ride, Vapour Trail – MC
I love the tenderness in the vocal against the sea of distortion on this track. I wanted to find these kinds of extremes on Broken Heart. I love how you feel like you could just sink into the reverb and it was something I really wanted to achieve in the outro of Broken Heart too.
Janet Jackson, Again – MC
This has always been one of my favourite songs and it wasn’t until I finished the demo for Slow Break that I actually noticed how much it had influenced me. Janet sounds so vulnerable in this track and I think that what was the goal for Slow Break.
Part of Me
The Shangri-Las, Give Him A Great Big Kiss & Jill Sobule, Supermodel – MC
Part of Me was written as a present and when I demoed it, I just wanted it to be the most joyous and sweet song ever. I wanted the energy to be up the entire time and for the chorus to have that classic ‘girl group’ feel with a melody that felt familiar. Give Him a Great Big Kiss is just pure sugar and its sweet lyrics I think definitely subconsciously influenced Part Of Me.
Supermodel, much like I Want You To Want Me, just captures that pure-pop fun of 90s pop-punk and is unrelenting in its energy. It was definitely a reference when it came to tone and feel.
Catch Bloods playing tracks from Feelings when they play a few sweaty parties this summer:
Saturday December 8 – Union Hotel, Sydney
Saturday December 14 – Old Bar, Melbourne
Listen to Feelings here. And listen to all these rad songs below.