Review Summary: Blackbird fly,
Sometimes it is hard to believe that Mikey Sanders, aka San Francisco dream pop wunderkid Blackbird Blackbird, has only been active since the beginning of 2010. With a slew of EPs, a full length (re-recorded with the obligatory extra remixes and mind *** cover art) and seemingly more coming every other week --he’s been a busy man. Though back in March, when still known as Bye Bye Blackbird, Sanders was little more than another artist with a four track EP and a “chillwave” tag slapped onto him. A name change and a few “Most Blogged Artist” tags later via The Independent UK things changed. And while The Summer Heart LP may be his debut full length, if his work ethic so far has been any indication (see side project: Cursed Kids) there is plenty more to come from Sanders.
Fitting too, being that Summer Heart is really just a collection of re-recorded singles, EP tracks with only a handful of new material--but oh does it flow. Rather than clumping everything together chronologically, Sanders constructs the songs into a proper album. At only thirty-two minutes with none of the fifteen tracks surpassing the three minute mark it is good that he did. Summer Heart doesn’t overstay its invitation but rather is a delectably sweet collection of soft dream-pop songs with strong holds in minimalist house (think early Saint Etienne), M83’s first proggy progressions (in much less time) with a shoegazer’s penchant for washed vocals. Sanders envelops his guest vocalists (or at times presumably himself) in lush, key heavy bedroom tunes akin to a Washed Out or Memory Tapes. But unlike his peers and usually for the better Blackbird’s recordings always possess a level of polish unseen in many of his peers riding the chillwave. The bass lines are fuller, cleaner; the synth work not as lo-fi and he seems less wary of multi-tracking keys/vocals or taking cues from more straightforward electric genres (see Dubstep and IDM). In the end culminating into a easily accessible, instantly appealing collection of groove-centric dream-pop tracks--that also happen to be some of the best in recent memory. Keep trucking Mikey. Please.