It Comes In Waves

Bleu

Independent release, 2015

http://www.facebook.com/whoisbleu

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/01/2017

Bleu is the one-man band of St. John’s, Newfoundland (Canada)-based Marcus McLaughlin. On this debut album, McLaughlin creates an interesting mix of surf pop and dream pop which is both laid back and has the immediacy of punk rock music at the same time.

Professional production and mixing aren’t in the picture on this album, and McLaughlin sticks with the basics for creating music: guitars, bass, and drums in their most stripped-down forms. According to McLaughlin, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 It Comes In Waves was recorded in his bedroom with Audacity and two microphones; a fact that is rather evident in this album’s dingy and rough sound, which plays a part in giving it its own unique sensibility.

Setting the above-mentioned quirk in the album’s overall sound aside, the music itself is quite original, as McLaughlin doesn’t fall into the trap of sounding like just another derivative dream pop act. The song “Delusional” and the instrumental “Float,” with their languid guitars, give a sort of neat, beachy Hawaiian spin to dream pop music. On tracks like “Tourist” and “Stars,” McLaughlin does a refreshing take on edgy and nimble post-punk guitar work – reminiscent of music on The Cure’s Three Imaginary Boys – turning its anarchist sound into something that is warm and breezy.

These days, when music that is “dreamy” is more often than not overly layered, it is cool to listen to music of this kind that is so unpolished. For instance, the lack of a sanitized sound on the highlights “Killing Time,” “Compost Composer,” and “Afterglow,” which are the most dreamy and melodious on the album, is actually kind of refreshing.

While it is easy even for mediocre bands to resort to adding reverb fluff in order to make their hollow music sound half-decent, McLaughlin leaves his music completely bare, warts and all. McLaughlin’s voice sounds like it is a victim of a bad microphone in a room with terrible acoustics. Heck, even the dinginess of the room this album was recorded in is palpable in the music. Yet, for all its ugliness, It Comes In Waves is fascinating and wonderful.

Rating: B-

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