Afternoon! This morning I finally attended my #digijourno (don't ask...) class after three weeks of constantly granting myself lie-ins, smashed it, left forty minutes early and wrote the review below. I've been a fan of Bleeding Knees Club for a while now so checked out their debut 'Nothing To Do' and, although I never usually publish pieces on here that don't go live on other sites, I'm currently tired, creative and just want to let some thoughts out, so, divirta-se! (Oh yeah, just casually practicing my Portugese COS I'M GOING TO THIS GUYS. Fuckoff Mumford & Sons.) x
Bleeding Knees Club- 'Nothing To Do' (iamsound/ Columbia Records)
The term ‘surf-pop’ can either make you wince in pain or writher with pleasure. Sure, the genre has been done to the death by bands like Wavves, Japandroids and No Age, but don’t let that tarnish the whole influx of this ‘stoner’ breed alone. Bleeding Knees Club, made up of Alex Wall and Jordan Malane via the sweet sunshine of the Australian Gold Cost, present the world with their debut full-length ‘Nothing To Do’, after working on Summer album sessions with Dev Hynes- y'know, him- is it enough to set them apart from the pack?
Having released their ‘Virginity’ EP back in 2010, the compilation included attention-grabbing tracks, ‘Have Fun’ and ‘Bad Guys’, bursting with exuberance, vigor and most importantly, fun. Album opener, ‘Teenage Girls’, is a joyful, care-free mash of aerial yet vigorous vocals, steam-rolling over jangling guitars’ and amalgamating into a track so punchy, one can’t help but babble along. Next up, ‘Hate Me’ is more ruckus than twee, with lyrics such as ‘This is the time of the night/ When nothing can go quite right’, deliver a safe bet for a trip down easy street, yet are proceeded as all-relatable, nonetheless . ‘Beach Slut’ commences spacey and numbed, with almost soulfully executed whims of ‘I really wish she would stay’, before jolting into what could easily be mistaken for being repeatedly played in Al’s diner from ‘Happy Days’- then hurtling back down to being totally dreamy and full of funk recurrently. ‘Girls Can Do Anything’ has another zoned-out vibe, as multiple, ghostly female vocals weave themselves through the track, creating an almost hypnotic delivery, whilst ‘Problem Child’ reeks of attitude, scuzz and feedback intoxication- all in the best possible way of course. However, it’s not all golden sands and plain sailing throughout for this pair…
More distracting than anything on the album, when it all boils down to the sheer musicianship, is the essence of that samey, splashing drum/ cymbal fusion, that fails to be delivered in a successfully melodic, or even something fiercer as we initially thought, way. ‘Lipstick’ slows things down with a Liam Lynch-esque (Omg, remember him?!) ‘Well, uh, me and Betty we’re hangin’ out by the beaches’ adamant announcement, paired with conventional streams of ‘oo’s which, frankly, appeals more as ‘one for the girls’, rather than one to draw the fairer sex in come the chorus. Oh and ‘Let It Go’ sounds just like it’s walked its way right into our ears off Harlem’s ‘Hippies’ effort. Sure, Bleeding Knees Club have found their audience and a synthesis that works- fair enough, they want to stick to it- but it somehow just doesn’t justify the excitement of their past releases and, well, sounding better on paper than in practice, it just doesn’t quite live up to its notion.
Words by yours truly