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Blushing – Possessions

todayFebruary 25, 2022 260 3

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Returning with their sophomore album, Possessions, is Austin’s Blushing. Now mainstays in the shoegaze and dream pop landscape, I was ready for more of their dreamy brand of song smithery. I should add it’s not for no reason they find themselves synonymous with the term dream pop. They have crafted a sound built on the foundations of all that we loved about those 90’s acts. Lush, Ride even Ultra Vivid Scene. There’s always been a subtle nod back to that era on their releases. It’s what hooked me into their sound. Now Jake and Michelle Soto and Christina and Noe Carmona have taken that sound and evolved it into something new. Something Blushing.

The album opens an almost goth bass line before a beautiful ethereal guitar line takes us away. This is soon ripped apart with a chorus as heavy as anything on a Nothing or Slow Crush album. ‘Bed’ really caught me off balance and had me smiling ear to ear within seconds. This isn’t like anything we’ve heard from Blushing to date. It’s fuzzed out and monumentally huge. This is exactly how they planned to open this new chapter for the band. I, for one, am fully hooked.

Following on is the hook-laden treat that is ‘Sour Punch’. This is classic Blushing, but somehow… bigger. The strength of the songwriting, the togetherness of the performance. This track has it all. I love the way the guitars have been layered here. That glorious chiming lead is held on the edge of breaking apart, maintaining that heavy vibe from the opening number. Man, this band mean business.

‘Blame’ features the vocals of scene legend Miki Berenyi. With Lush being a key touchpoint for Blushing’s vibe, this must have been an incredible experience. It’s terribly rare we get the chance to work with our heroes, and presented the opportunity, they picked the perfect song for this collaboration. There’s that core 90’s sound but with more. More scope and more widescreen presentation. This is a big song and it’s no wonder it was chosen to be the first single released.

My album highlight: ‘Ours’ has the most ornate sound. It pivots between shimmering strummed chords and spacious and punchy breaks. If ever a song was all chorus, it’s this one. Every time I get to this track, I find myself skipping the needle back again for just one more listen. It’s the very definition of ‘moreish’.

The song segues neatly into the gentle chords of ‘Surround (With Love)’. Gentle for now but this is a song of two halves. Before you know it, the drums are pounding double-time, ushering in a potent, mosh-inducing rocker. There’s a glorious Dinosaur Jr. feel to how this song closes out. It’s just brilliant.

‘Gel’ has a more grounded feel. A beautiful lovelorn piece that utilises the guitars to create some really quite startling atmospherics. This is such a perfectly understated composition, layering up the many parts to give it a truly satisfying ending.

Blushing partner up with another 90’s scene legend on ‘The Fires’. Mark Gardener of Ride fame lends his considerable mixing talents to this moody, scorched tone piece. This track darkens the vibe considerably from the preceding cuts but it’s far from unwelcome, especially when vocals dance around as they do. It’s amazing to behold the vocals weaving their way through the melody the guitars are painting out. I particularly love how the song just blossoms at the end.

The title track is a short, sharp jolt of pop sparkle injected with a psychedelic twist. The screaming feedback from the guitars remind us this band are evolving and owning this new, more heavy sound. The mid-section instrumental would make Kevin Shields proud.

We’re back in that sumptuous, reverb-soaked zone for ‘Waster’. It matches the darker tone that ‘The Fires’ instigated. There something that calls back to early Throwing Muses. For me it’s the outstanding drumming from Jacob Soto that really lifts this track and keeps you guessing.

‘Lost Cat’ is a veritable feast of pace, style and texture. Opening like a more traditional indie rock number, it quickly morphs through some quite neat vocal gymnastics and amazing drum fills into glorious half-time ballad. All this, then it further evolves into this psych rock stomper. Man! Blushing like to keep us on our toes.

The influence of Berenyi seeps into the very DNA of ‘Weight’. This song could easily have sat as an additional track on Gala. It’s THAT good. There’s loads to unpack in its three minutes: the chiming guitars welcoming us in, the glorious bassline doing the heavy lifting, the interplay on the vocals. It’s all just ear candy.

Rather aptly, ‘How It Ends’ brings the album to a close. It’s a perfect way to complete this collection of songs. Mid-paced and playing to the band’s strengths: ethereal vocals, drums punctuating the song and driving the changes. The sculpted and richly-textured guitars are so playful they are a joy to listen to. If this is how it ends then I’ll go out happy!

Blushing have created a loveletter to the sounds that influenced them to pick up instruments in the first place. It’s not a continuation of that sound, however, it seems the next step forward in its growth and development. Like I said at the start, this isn’t emulation, its evolution.

Possessions is out now on Kanine Records. You can grab a copy over on Bandcamp now or your choice of high quality indie retailer. Make sure you follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Written by: Mark Anderson

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