Review Summary: Whilst containing some of Blindside's strangest and most brilliant creations, the dodgy live recordings and sub-par songs bring Blindside's independent EP down.
In my magical musical library, I have three types of rock bands. Normal bands, weird bands and normal bands that innovate in small doses. Swedish band Blindside, along with bands like Thrice and The Classic Crime, falls into that category. In the past, Blindside has done everything: all out hardcore bash, incomprehensible timings and unpredictable song structure, all while staying relatively radio-friendly. All this while I've been hoping that Blindside would stray into the 'weird side' and impress me.
Well, the Black Rose EP is weird, alright.
The album starts deceivingly, with a tapping closed hi-hat that keeps you waiting just long enough before 'The Way You Dance' explodes into a frantic, seasick and eery trip through the mind of vocalist Christian Lindskog. With soaring vocals, the song sounds somewhat discordant and, for the lack of a better word, gypsy-esque with drummer Marcus Dahlström churning out alternating snare beats and guitarist Simon Grenehed molding mountainous soundscapes that engulf the listener into it's addictive wall of sound.
The Black Rose EP has Blindside branching out into unexplored areas for the band too. 'The Color of my Eyes' combines classic Blindside elements such as the soaring chorus with a grinding, melancholic and wholeheartedly beautiful verse that sings 'And I will wait by the telephone while the silence pressures my eardrum/I found a black and white with a person smiling sad at me.' In a similar fashion 'Slow Motion' is surprisingly witty with it's pulsing beat and brilliant lyrics, telling the tale of a life going by disdainfully. Lindskog borrows some antics from Family Force 5 in his almost rap-like lines such as 'Hey operator, could you connect me with a respirator?' that really put a new dose of experimentalism in the Blindside mix.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn't succeed. The other two recordings, 'Pretty Nights' and the title track 'Black Rose,' are more of the same, with less emotion. The last three tracks on the album are live recordings of songs from their previous album, The Great Depression. With the exception of 'My Alibi (Live)' which translates on the stage more emotively and powerfully then it did on it's album, the live songs are not worth your time.
Blindside really served up a mixed bag this time, but at least the bag had some surprises. I'm really enjoying the direction the band is taking, but with all new directions, they need to take some time to hone it. Do yourself a favor and listen to 'The Color of My Eyes' and 'The Way You Dance.' It may change the way you think about Blindside... and might make you look forward to a more developed LP in 2009.