Monday 22 April 2013

The Blanche Hudson Weekend - How Many Times Have You Let Me Die?

Album review by

We're already aware that The Blanche Hudson Weekend know a thing or two about writing songs (a couple of them were in the sadly defunct Manhattan Love Suicides), but having released a compilation album of early singles in 2010, followed by a debut a year later, it's telling that the press release for what is essentially their third album in as many years describes 2012 as a quiet year for the band as they only put out a single and an EP. It just goes to show how consistent and prolific they are that in between that pair of releases they found time to write and record this new fifteen-track album.

Their sound has changed a little since those early singles which came wrapped in a bundle of fuzz, and 'You Always Loved Violence' saw them move towards a cleaner but still reasonably lo-fi sound. 'How Many Times Have You Let Me Die?' seems to have found a happy medium between the two. Perhaps the biggest compliment you could give them about the new record, is that at fifteen tracks and 56 minutes long it could be a touch daunting and fail to hold your concentration for such a long journey; but it does. You don't notice any of this, it's a collection of sometimes fuzzy, sometimes punky, sometimes sweet, sometimes electronic DIY indiepop songs by a band who've become very good at DIY. We'd have them round to put up our shelves any time.

'How Many Times Have You Let Me Die?' shows a multi-dimensional band. Highlights may be down to personal preference, but as a lover of energy and fuzz then you won't hear many better songs this year than 'If You're Still Together'. More buzzing sounds can be found on 'When All Is Said And Done', the exemplary 'Love Is A Poison' and 'Blood and Butter' which uses the sound of primitive synths for another dimension, and the song concludes with a voice sample (not the first, 'Intro' contains a particularly angry rant). More retro electronic sounds find their way into 'Impossible You' with its drum machine and the epic 'To Be That Way Again'. 'Disintegrate' is another highlight, like a less dark and dingy Raveonettes, and as for 'Punk Rock Pogo Satellite', the clue's in the name and it follows a similar path to last year's single '(Just Like) Susan George' (a title that could be taken from Half Man Half Biscuit).

Comparisons are plentiful and some are surprising. You can pick out alt-pop from the '80s such as Fuzzbox or even Fun Boy Three's work with Bananarama; other tracks are reminiscent of Helen Love or Lush when they ditched the shoegaze for a poppier approach. Have a listen to 'Gradual Celebration' and particularly 'Consume Me' for good examples. Be it the heartfelt 'Our Broken Dreams' or the fizzing '(They Say Good Guys Are So) Hard To Find' that follows it, they have a lot of bases covered, enough to make sure that the lengthy duration is so unnoticeable that, far from being detrimental, it's entirely insignificant. We don't condone violence or murder in any way as a rule, but if whoever let The Blanche Hudson Weekend die so many times could repeat what they've been doing then we'd be eternally grateful if this is to be the outcome.

The Blanche Hudson Weekend's website

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