Blessin’ – Do You

Blessin' - Do You
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What's This?

The southwest England-based Art Is Hard Records consecutively release an impressive array of local garage rock acts, but the forthcoming EP from Denton, Texas’ groggy surf rock group Blessin’ will be the first American release by the DIY label. The fivesome (Alex and Austin and John and Matt and Tommy as told by social media) settle upon a blissful, dredged-up kind of slacker rock on this five-track EP Do You. Opening number “Inside Out,” the most effortlessly engaging melody on the release, begins precariously with a vacant-sounding “Uhh..” The track collects descending, blue-toned chords and watery guitar licks against the steady pulse of washboards swooshing. The lush “Inside Out” induces all sorts of starry-eyed daydreams and elevated modes of consciousness, like the tender moments preceding a calm, hypnagogic state of pre-sleep. But the song concludes with a cognizant flare: a volley of Steve Reich handclaps and an up-ended guitar line.

Do You comes off laggard and limp, a thin sheet of lo-fi obscurity veiling hollow vocals, while guitar riffs and percussion swell and mutate in form. A closer listen of this Blessin’ EP, though, warrants the discovery of strange, psychotropic sonic signatures, startling easter eggs in an otherwise consistent vat of muddled freshwater. “Green Song” showcases erratic guitar flourishes that parry the lead guitar’s listless enthusiasm with a spark of lucidity, but they sound inconspicuous and almost missable in the tune. “Splat!” features a garbled and distorted array of voices buried deep among layers of florid, carefree hooks; midway through “Velocity,” the singer discards conventional lyrics for the senseless mantra of “Choo choo choo.” EP closer “Mono,” melds bottom-heavy basslines and a frenetic inhabitance of warbled electronic distortion, a current of noisy feedback taking over on the last few notes. It’s these moments of simultaneous creative restraint and electronic adornment that make the group’s second release a significant step forward. The Do You EP will be released on cassette March 24. Listen below.

Angel E. Fraden

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