Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Blow - Self-titled

Punchy and direct, “Make it Up” starts off The Blow’s self-titled album brightly, with the kind of gusto that made 2005’s Paper Television gobs and gobs of fun. Glitchy samples, a chorus full of joyful harmonies, and an uptempo beat make for an infectious pop masterpiece.
But that energy is harder to find on the rest of the collection. Musing about unfulfilling relationships, unrequited love, and mortality, Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne tone down the rest of the album to less of a fever pitch. It’s reflective and expressive, but at times lacks the immediate power and hooky qualities of The Blow’s best songs. 
The pair worked together to sample acoustic instruments, turning them into robotic bleeps and synthy waves. These clips of sound are a backdrop to thoughtful lyrics and candid stories. Best is the conversational “I Tell Myself Everything,” where Maricich rambles about heartbreak being good for artist inspiration. She opens up with a revealing portrait of self-awareness, singing, “Here we come in a slow motion strut/It’s all four of me/The cool one, two more and the one careless whore of me.”

The Blow closes with a gorgeous ballad laced up with sweet guitar humming and a gentle melody. Using light and darkness as symbols for the fear involved in falling headfirst into love, “You’re My Light” is another example that this album not just about passion, but the thoughtful beauty behind it. Love and life are fragile, and these minimalistic songs reflect the delicate balance we must maintain to preserve both of them.

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