Review Summary: Comfort In Sound
So aside from sounding lovely and warm what have we got here then? We’ve got a four piece Blackpool based band who have made possibly the biggest leap from debut to second album I’ve ever seen. In 2018 Blanket released a very nice post rock album called How To Let Go. It was tight, evocative, well produced and gave some ‘feels’ but for me, almost entirely instrumental music doesn’t quite hit the spot. What they’ve done since is add a vast array of different tones, including a more metallic crunch, and I don’t know if it was a direction switch or the vocalist became more confident but they’ve now moved from almost entirely instrumental to being vocal driven at times!
So now we have a post rock band, with metal elements and vocals added. What do they sound like then? If I was to tell you they did a low-key cover of Knife Prty by Deftones in between albums you’ll probably all roll your eyes and think another in the growing list of Defclones - but don’t because you’d be wrong! Yes there are shoegazey bits and post rock bits and metally bits but aside from one song I’ll come back to later and a few moments, these guys do not sound like Chino and the boys.
What I hear from Blanket is a band who were very effective post rockers and then listened to a bucket load of Katatonia in between albums. The vocals (aside from two guest spots) are all clean and almost all calm, yet gripping. I’m not going to lie, I heard this album before the debut and it was my opinion that the band name Blanket fit them so well because of the vocals. Whilst there are moments of harsh dissonance and heavy riffs, the vocals are a constant blanket calmly cuddling everything together and keeping you warm. That’s how this album feels to me, it’s fresh, it’s warm, it takes elements of other bands, mostly Katatonia and some other followers of Deftones but it still sounds unique to me.
This album is incredibly easy to dip into, there are really no bad tracks, but the intro punch of White Noise is a good place to start, wasting no time in introducing their new metallic crunch. The opener is then followed up by probably the heaviest track on the album, Romance, which has the first of two outside vocalists from a chap called Gost who adds some black metal shrieks to the equation and succeeds in making things feel a bit heavier all round. The album continues to twist in out of metal and post rock very effectively for a few more tracks, though the transitions never feel forced, before arriving at the other guest vocal spot (and the reason I heard about this album) Kadeem from Loathe. I felt it was important to mention the transitions between heavy and spacey are well balanced because a number of bands including Loathe have gotten a bit of flack for being a bit choppy with their transitions. Blanket are at no time switching styles for the sake of it though and gift us with properly crafted songs throughout, which is why I feel more of a Katatonia connection than most modern metal-gaze type acts.
Anyway, anyone who’s heard anything from me knows I love Loathe and In Awe is another stellar track, enhanced by Kadeem’s harsh vocals. It’s followed up by a questionable highlight in Where The Light Takes Us. This is the track I said we’d come back to and that should explain why I’m saying ‘questionable’. This song is beautiful, the vocal performance is the best on the album too, but it sounds so much like a Deftones song I had to check what I was listening to. I can forgive songs sounding a bit like your idols and I love Deftones too so I get it but please guys, when you are a bit close to your influences please don’t have a chorus about how if we grew wings we could fly and then go ah-ah-ah after it in almost the exact way Chino does in House of Flies…
The thing is though, I’ve gone in pretty hard there, BUT it is also a really good song and probably my favourite on the album!
A few more songs follow in a similar vein where when they do sound a bit Deftone-y it’s the sinister chilled, bass rumbling, guitar picking ‘tones which is a real treat to hear to be honest as they do it really well. The album finishes with probably my one annoyance, a really nice post-rock track that builds up and then just ends right where it could’ve exploded but there it is, an anti-climactic finish to an album filled with peaks and troughs. What the anti-climax does do though is make me hit play again so maybe that was the intention, to keep this album a cyclical experience?
So there you have it - a guy you’ve never met telling you to listen to a band you’ve never heard of! If you’re a fan of Katatonia, sinister passages of Deftones and similar though - do it! You won’t regret it.