Blessed (CAN)
Salt


4.2
excellent

Review

by clavier STAFF
April 14th, 2019 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The humming of fluorescent lights

Blessed’s post-punk has always been subtly sinister, its edges mostly masked behind a veneer of sprightliness and straight-backed rhythms. Salt turns up the threat levels in such a way that they bleed out of the cracks of its facade — a plastered smile with a blank stare, not quite able to contain what lurks behind it. The album is winding, twisting, methodical as it surgically drills in its hooks; it circles around, trying to manage its restlessness all the while accumulating tension. Devo comes to mind, though Blessed’s sound is more taut, not quite as evidently tongue-in-cheek.

Salt has a certain nervous energy, jitteriness immediately apparent from its first few seconds as staccato chords and a rapid, one-note bassline punctuate through “Rolled In Glass”. Often, though, its nervousness ends up being traded for low-lying anxiety, hidden behind moderate tempos and deceptively monotonous vocals that reveal uncomfortable musings (“you create problems to solve them”, goes “Thought” apathetically). Eventually the dread bursts through, and the transition from “Pill” to “Anchor” is particularly revealing — the former, relatively upbeat, is followed up by the troubled latter, bringing heavy reverberation, droning, and cold mechanical percussion. After “Anchor”, Salt seems as if it has dropped all pretence of feeling normal; “Disease” is unfailingly bleak, with drumming that feels bogged down and an ironic, wearily chanted line of “hope for the disease to heal itself”. And in “Caribou”, the skittish bassline and snappish guitar twangs no longer come off as mere nervousness, but instead as something that represents a deeper dysfunction — an inability to cope any longer, a resigned collapse that is signified by the final wash of noise.

What’s perhaps most disconcerting about Salt is how it tries to colour in its cold, clinical surfaces. I mentioned that the album is somewhat deceitful; I think a large part of its intrigue comes from seeing how exactly it deceives, and how it comes to stop caring about the act. The refrain of “Purpose and Conviction” is misleadingly reassuring, bright and multi-hued until a warbling drone haunts the background; “Pill” moves around with ease, featuring a colourful syncopated passage constituting the closest thing to fun that the album gets. Even the somewhat sluggish “Zealot” has chiming synth flourishes, though the light they shine is a bit too harsh for comfort. There are times when Salt seems to be imbued with life (in actuality, just a facsimile of it); eventually, it betrays a half-dead nature, running on machinery and bitter concoctions. “Warmth in the shadows / alone it smells so stale”, mourns “Purpose and Conviction” in a line capturing one sort of deprivation that Salt addresses.

If Salt is menacing, it’s because it presents rather clearly a mental and emotional state that we instinctively fear — vestiges of colour remaining only on the surface, internal mechanisms rusting. It’s absolutely draining to fake it, but the alternative isn’t much prettier — “you live, you cry / you live, you die”.




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user ratings (24)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Chambered79
April 14th 2019


978 Comments


What does it all.mean

Observer
Emeritus
April 14th 2019


9037 Comments


good read, couldnt seem to locate anything from this on youtube, but that track you linked is interesting

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2019


41933 Comments


Nice writeup, this sounds like something I could get into. Giving Thought a listen rn

Digging: Teenage Jesus and the Jerks - Teenage Jesus and the Jerks

schoonda
April 14th 2019


1814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3 tracks in and this is really impressing me, great review

schoonda
April 15th 2019


1814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ok yeah this is special

Pangea
April 15th 2019


7231 Comments


Nice review. This looks good

Digging: Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman

TwoInTheShoe
April 15th 2019


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

On my first listen through the album and this review captures that something special about it.

Really looking forward to listening to this more later

Slex
April 15th 2019


12296 Comments


What the fuck this is AMAZING

Digging: Circa Survive - A Dream About Love

clavier
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2019


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

glad y'all are enjoying this, it's a really interesting release and makes me proud of my local music scene

Slex
April 15th 2019


12296 Comments


Instrumentally thrilling and lyrically clever without being too coy

Basically this kicks all kinds of ass and then some

schoonda
April 15th 2019


1814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How is this front page and not getting any attention? It's so fucking good!

luci
April 15th 2019


12673 Comments


pretty enjoyable! the women/viet influence is clear

Slex
April 16th 2019


12296 Comments


Call me crazy but these guys remind me of Dismemberment Plan, especially the mathy playful aspect

schoonda
April 16th 2019


1814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ok crazy

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2019


15605 Comments


On rotation on account of the women comparisons

Digging: Rachel's - Music for Egon Schiele

schoonda
April 16th 2019


1814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good lad phero

Pheromone
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2019


15605 Comments


Could only catch the first half on my journey earlier & defo enjoyed what I heard. Not too keen on the vox currently, but I'm sure they'll grow.

Clefairy
May 8th 2019


123 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow this is really good

supremejelly
June 14th 2019


1224 Comments


I really enjoyed this, and I guess I now have a reason to see what all this Devo fuss has been about

SlothcoreSam
October 29th 2019


3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The second half of this album owns. Don't let the first 3 tracks put you off. Might nudge that rating up to a 4

Digging: STOMACH BOOK - STOMACH BOOK



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