(Photo Credit - Luke Harley)
Advance Review - Blaenavon - Everything Makes You Happy (October 25, 2019)
The album begins with "I Want You" which has a slow beat that moves like clockwork. It picks up at the chorus for a nice indie shoegaze pop feel. It's a strong track to kick off the album. The album quickly picks up the pace with
"Catatonic Skinbag" which has ripping guitars between it's climbing verses. "Back This Year" has an indie/pop feel to it, but the vocals feature delay which pulls back to that shoegaze pop. Even the leads on this track are heavily delayed. I think they sound great and accentuate the vocals well.
"The Song's Never Gonna Be the Same" is a departure, in that it starts as an acoustic track before bringing keys and high leads. Partly it reminds me of City and Coulour's A Pill for Loneliness. The vocals aren't as digitally impacted as that album however. Ben Gregory's vocals really shine on this track as he's able to show off his range, delivering all over his register. "Skin Scream" is another example of how Blaenavon are much more than simply an indie an indie band. The song is atmospheric, it's textured sonically, it hits all the right places.
"Fucking Up My Friends" pulls the bands sound back into an indie pop sound primarily focusing on piano driven melody, but Gregory's vocals are the star of the show. On "Never Stop Stirring", Blaenavon blasts a message of the power of love and how it can make you better. It's a bright song with a bright message and is great to hear. The title track "Everything That Makes You Happy" initially had me thinking of The Cure's "Close to Me" with it's tight, fast, rhythmatic beat. Throughout the song Gregory softly sings over this beat and will every once in a while into a falsetto. Around the 2:30 mark the song finally breaks with a beautiful atmospheric melody. It's such a solid ending to a solid album.
Blaenavon tinker with genre in a way that I love, moving between alt, indie, and shoegaze. Musically they are extremely tight and bring great melodies to each track throughout the album. Ben Gregory's vocals fit perfectly with how the melody's are constructed, so you couldn't ask for much more than that. This is a band to keep your eye on.
Rating - 4/5