Blanche Blanche Blanche: Seashells (Reading Group, 2021)

February 10, 2021 at 7:53 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Blanche Blanche Blanche: Seashells

On New Year’s Day, Blanche Blanche Blanche released their first LP in over six years, and somehow it’s been overlooked in favor of the other new Zach Phillips-related album that came out that day, Fievel Is Glauque’s debut, which is getting way more attention so far. I’ll get to reviewing that one soon, but BBB deserves mention for now. Wink With Both Eyes was easily my favorite album of 2012, and I’ve been following them and their related projects ever since. This album was recorded on a Tascam 424 in short bursts between 2017 and 2019, almost entirely by Sarah Smith & Zach Phillips (Ryan Power plays guitar on one song), and it’s maybe their most lo-fi, fragmented release yet. Less hyper than the punk/prog bent of albums like Breaking Mirrors, not as hooky as Wink, this one features sentimental/searching lyrics frequently undercut and sideswiped by quick, angular bursts of splattered keyboard melodies and multi-tracked vocal interjections. A few phrases pop up throughout the album with increasing frequency (“Jeepers creepers, y’all”, “shoot your shot”), and if you aren’t paying attention close enough, quirks like this might distract from some of the more poignant and empowering messages and anecdotes in the lyrics. I don’t really want to give away everything that goes on here, partially because a lot of it rushes by quickly without repetition and it’s hard to process it all, but it’s just as inventive and cryptic as the rest of their releases. Hey, they’re just trying to change the world.

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