Feelings (Share It Music/SubPop)
Back when I used to drink a particular fizzy sugary drink, reluctantly but relentlessly nonetheless - I never liked it but it was the only way teenage me could stomach drinking equally disliked (cheap blend) whiskey: two bads making a half good/full drunk right to an idiot – possibly the best moment was the time before I actually tasted it.
In that second or so, when popping the can, hearing the hiss, then the fizz, having the smell and bubbles heading up my nose simultaneously, there was hope, there was energy, there was an anticipation of fun that was not burdened by the shitty reality of the rot ahead.
Bloods’ album, Feelings, is that second or two captured in 10 songs lightly stretched across 31 minutes, without – and here’s the kicker – the ickiness that follows.
This is fizziness and energy like sugar directly downloaded into your veins, bubbles of nothing that feel like fun, hooks that promise satisfaction and actually deliver, and a reminder that fuzzed guitars, half-dream singing and tunes may be a not very secret recipe for pleasure.
Once three and now four (Marihuzka Cornelius voicing and guitaring; Dirk Jonker sitting back there, and hitting; Victoria Sweetie Zamora also voicing and bassing; Michael Morgan newly guitaring), once Sydney, now twin-citied north and south of the Murray; once leaning female, now half-and-half, Bloods are now two albums in. This would suggest a progression, some maturity, and maybe some restraint on Feelings.
The first two can be ticked off for a start. These are songs that balance a full tilt run into the surf with a quick perusal of the waves, not relying only on the first burst of zest to carry all the load. And these are songs which don’t just assume that if you slow something down it gains significance.
The soft, throwaway “aah” in the pre-chorus of Talk, and the mix of phased and mostly untouched vocals in NCC; the slight skip in the drums through Bring My Walls Down, and the touch of drag on the same drums in Penny’s Song; the mix of New Order and Shonen Knife in the interplay of bass and vocals in Broken Heart, and the curling half-melody of Step Back.
As with the more layered guitars, they’re all moments of subtlety, of small adjustments that come from knowing your way around, and knowing that you can do it at the pace of the busting out Bring My Walls Down, within the swinging mode of Step Back or while throwing girl group romantic shapes in Broken Heart.
Being thoughtful doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice that kid inside you who wants to jump up and down right now goddammit however (though maybe Slow Break carries the shadow of over-thinking).
The Cali-punk glorifying Bug Eyes inspires the kind of leaping about that annoys the hell out of your neighbours (sorry guys), Part Of Me finishes the album with some reliving of day-glo teenage parties, and the catchy-as-all-get-out title track may be slower than those two but it is probably the danciest thing here.
I don’t drink that cola shit anymore; I’m a big boy now who can drink (better quality) spirits all on my own. But if I need that fizz, that rush and that promise of fun, Bloods will do just fine, thank you.