Introducing Rebecca Blasband’s new album Here
Smoky guitars, slithering basslines, ominous grooves and a lush vocal performance from the star herself add up to make Rebecca Blasband’s new album Here a solid release from an exceptionally talented artist. Blasband’s debut record RAPT is almost universally considered to be a classic in American indie music, and with Here she expands upon a lot of the sonic schemes and thrilling techniques she utilized so brilliantly in her rookie offering. “Those Happy Days,” “Way of the World” and “Target” will immediately register with her hardcore fans as staples of the next chapter in her career, while other tracks like the “Walking on Water” and “Ghost Song” give us a peek into the new persona she’s fashioned for herself.
Let’s take a look at “Ghost Song” first. Along with the title track, this is one of the more stoic songs that Here presents us with, but its music isn’t devoid of emotion in the least. Blasband translates these beautiful tones to us in her witty, trademark prose, but all of the energy is coming off of the pendulous instrumentation, which in “Ghost Song” revolves around a violent guitar lick that doesn’t give up without a fight. The title track boasts a jazz melody that is straight out of the roaring 20s but is made much more accessible via Blasband’s subdued crooning, an endearing concept you don’t really see much of anymore.
Everything that we come across in Here is mixed pretty clearly, with “Who the Hell is Peter Brown?,” “Fool’s Heaven” and the pristine piano play of “Love Is” standing out as the most muscular of the bunch. “Who the Hell is Peter Brown?” feels like a jangle rock song that doesn’t know how to escape its bluesy foundation, but it doesn’t sound fragmented or unfinished. “Walking on Water” and “Gotta Work It Out” are a tad surer of themselves, plus they aren’t arrogant about their tight construction. As pumped up as these tracks are they fortunately don’t devolve into overindulgence – which is a big relief in today’s age of excess.
Here is a very chic album, building on the luster of its production and then impressing us with its depth. The volume is augmented in “Long Distance Love Affair” as to allow us an up close look at Blasband at her most vulnerable. The strings are off somewhere in the background and the spotlight is fixed on her and her alone. If “Fool’s Heaven” was meant to make us consider the way she sees the world, this song was definitely intended to get us seeing the way she sees herself, and the vantage point is a ferociously intimate one.
It would be next to impossible to explore all of the elements that Here throws in our direction as we attempt to wade through its endless array of tones, melodies and rumbling grooves, but if you’re a devoted rock disciple like I am, it doesn’t get much better than an album like this. Blasband doesn’t just give us one or two songs to really sink our teeth into; she gives up an entire record packed with single-qualifying material that stands on its own marvelously but when packaged together takes on a cinematic quality unlike anything you’ll find when scanning mainstream radio. This is pop music that owes everything to the honesty of its creator and nothing to populist trends.