Review Summary: f l o a t i l y
Few things are more satisfying than a previously ‘decent’ band realising its full potential and finding a spot within the ‘very good’ category. In Blankenberge’s case, it didn’t take long for the Russian shoegazers to get there: the previously released Radiogaze
were pleasant, if somewhat forgettable records. Now, Everything
ups the post-factor and solidifies the band as one of the most floatily
exciting projects of recent years.
True to its gorgeous album art, Everything
feels entirely organic, gently pushing songs into full bloom while using indistinctly familiar elements. Throughout the record, Blankenberge lean heavily into their post rock tendencies, instantly noticeable on the magnificent ‘Time to Live’. The song opens the album on a full minute of Yana Guselnikova’s ethereal croons before erupting into several layers of distortion as the vocalist reprises her wistful melodies to fit the novel density. Similarly, ‘Forget’ departs from a few twinkles, quickly expanding into a bright tunnel of calm grace. All throughout, drums are buried in the mix, tastefully adding hints of structure to each ever-unfolding sparkle.
With most of Everything
residing in delightful abstraction, the odd moments of contrasting clarity comprise a nice set of highlights. ‘So High’ occasionally clears its haze for stretches of echoing peace, allowing Guselnikova’s soothing words to assume a position in the rather dim spotlight. The record’s optimism appears to be rooted in nihilism, finding a unique sense of hope in the absence of possibilities. ‘No Sense’ ponders its way through the pointlessness of life (“If you still want to / Live this life / Don’t think too much / It doesn’t work
”) while ‘Summer Morning’ summarises the beauty of summer in adorably clumsy fashion: “Summer morning / Don’t go away / You make me feel right / You heal my soul
”. Drawn out over several minutes, each thought feels simultaneously weightless and essential to the serenity of the record.
As such, Everything
is a wonderful piece of escapism. It’s an effective antidote to all antonyms of ‘pristine’ and ‘charming’, and most importantly, Blankenberge’s most complete album to date. The journey it takes you on is a reflection in and of itself, persistently expanding and embracing highly ephemeral textures to accomplish its excellence. ‘Fragile’ forms the perfect conclusion, ending the record on a three-minute psychedelic ringing, seemingly distilling everything that comprises Everything
into its final form: a soft, delicate hum.