Blisses B "You Should" (Independent, 2009)
San Francisco chameleons’ left-field adventures
There are times during this album where Blisses B can’t quite decide whether they want to be Wilco, Talking Heads, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson, The Band or a modern bluegrass outfit, so instead they do all at once.
These San Franciscans throw in a core of guitar, drums and fabulous deep upright bass and Noah Libby’s cryptic croon at the core of the sound, but then also mandolins, banjo and clarinets appear, and also chugging funk guitar rhythms diversify the concoction, sometimes sounding like the work of several different bands.
Forever caught between their intelligent art-rock influences and an urge to chuck it all in the air and have a lot of fun, the schizophrenic sound clashes work on ‘AQ’ which is like Talking Heads teaming up with Van Halen. Then the sweet soulful atmosphere of ‘Condone’ breaks out into a Wilco-esque fit of leftfield guitar histrionics before finding resolution in its subtle groove again.
Seeking to confound further, ‘Surfing Boogie Boards’ isn’t as unpleasant as a song sporting that title ought to be, with mandolins and violins leading the rhythmic charge, the jauntiest of melodies and typically esoteric lyrical concerns
The taut funk rock of ‘Open Hand Weak Wrist’ works less well, if only because it is played straight and it has been done a hundred times before, even if they do spice things up with some wistful vocals and harmonies in the middle
Blisses B don’t so much cross genre divides as run a steam roller over them. The best part is that they truly sound like they relish their complete freedom.
Date review added: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Reviewer: Ian Fildes
Related web link: Blisses B website