Patterns Of Behaviour


Independent release, 2016

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


On the one hand, the 2015 debut by Marcus McLaughlin (who performs as Bleu), It Comes In Waves, is an album of laidback and dreamy tropical guitar pop music. On the other, it is the antithesis of a crisply produced, sterilized dream pop record. In contradiction to the warm “tropical” vibes of the album is the awkward loneliness of a shy indie musician who has self-recorded and self-produced the music. McLaughlin doesn’t sound like some sophisticated indie pop musician, and he doesn’t even pretend to be one. This is a pretty charming aspect of his music, lending a kind of authenticity to this release.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

On Patterns Of Behaviour, the general sound is still the same as It Comes In Waves. However, it feels like there isn’t really a need for a dramatic change in McLaughlin’s music, as it still sounds fresh and original.

Tracks like “World Away,” “Burn Yr Clothes,” and “Sunshine” are super-lazy and have the signature Bleu sound with lulling melodious guitars, which bring forth the mood of lazing around on the beach. Songs like “You Know,” “Patterns Of Behaviour,” and “Aberrations,” which are also album highlights, fall under the pure dream pop side of Bleu with their haunting melancholia and pensiveness.

Although not much has changed in terms of the overall sound and production quality, Patterns Of Behaviour certainly seems a bit less coarse compared to It Comes In Waves. This means that the roughness and shabbiness on this album sounds a bit more hip in comparison to its predecessor, like a cool DIY project that eschews glossy production on purpose.

Patterns Of Behaviour also finds McLaughlin as a more mature musician. The ‘60s psychedelic synthesizers on the cuts “It’s Me/You’re A Mess,” “Uno,” and “Patterns Of Behaviour” add a nice nostalgic flavor to the album, certainly making it musically far deeper than his debut.

McLaughlin might not (yet) be the captivating bright shiny artist in the world of indie music that everybody should be taking about. But even in his peculiarly unassuming and disheveled manner, what McLaughlin is doing musically is unique and extraordinary. In a typical mild-mannered “Marcus McLaughlin” way, Patterns Of Behaviour is simple and absolutely unpretentious, but not without many nice little surprises that will make for a delightful listen.

Rating: B-

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