Blouse - Imperium

Die erste Vorladung (VI)

Charlie Hilton, Jacob Portrait und Patrick Adams stammen aus Portland, Oregon, und musizieren gemeinsam unter dem Namen Blouse.

Im Gegensatz zum 2011 veröffentlichten Debütalbum "Blouse", verzichtet das Trio auf "Imperium" aus alle Synthesizer und Drumcomputer und setzt auf “instruments that don’t plug into the wall”, wie es Bandmaitgied und Produzent Jacob Portrait bezeichnet. 
"Imperium" beinhaltet 10 Titel (die man hier derzeit alle hören kann), läuft rund 36 Minuten und wird über Captured Tracks, die Heimat von Beach Fossils oder Wild Nothing, veröffentlicht. Neben der regulären CD und LP gibt es auch noch eine limitierte LP-Version in marmoriertem Vinyl.

1993 werkelten auf der einen Seite des Atlantiks The Breeders an ihrem zweiten Album "Last Splash" und auf der anderen Seite Lush an "Split" - und ziemlich genau 20 Jahre später orientiert sich ein Trio aus Portland an diesen beiden Bands und veröffentlicht eine Platte, die versucht den trockenen Alternative Rock der Breeders und den verträumten Shoegaze von Lush zu kombinieren. Doch es bleibt bei dem Versuch, schon allein deshalb, weil es keine Songs der Klasse von "Cannonball", "Divine Hammer" oder "Hypocrite" zu hören gibt. Wer sich jedoch mit dem Gedanken an eine solide und nicht ganz so überzeugende Breeders/Lush-Platte anfreunden kann, für den dürfte "Imperium" interessant sein.   

Title track ‘Imperium’ is a strong opener and its central hook and first line on the album, “Are you one of us?” catches the mood of the thing entirely. This is an album made solely for the band and its followers, not noticeably interested in winning over a new audience. From the perspective of a listener this can be distinctly alienating, particularly when Hilton’s woozy Nico-esque whisperings blur into incoherence on tracks like ‘Eyesight’, or in the case of ‘Happy Days’ are barely there at all.

In a way though, it’s this distant stance of the band’s which urges closer attention. When the light refrain of “I would never hurt you / Or disappear” comes in on ‘1000 Years’, it’s with a suitably slight jolt that we realise this is in fact a love song. Equally, the up-tempo drumming of ‘Arrested’ makes for a pleasing penultimate surge ahead of the almost frank and devotional ‘Trust Me’. These nuances of emotion that filter through the ‘Imperium’s initial bleary haze are in effect what make it worthwhile.

‘Imperium’ then is to music what Lomography is to photography. Purposefully lo-fi, it would be easy to dismiss as self-indulgent nostalgia, yet its quirky charms and understated directness more often than not outweigh its faults.
(This Is Fake DIY)

Imperium is also the name of the record’s opening track that takes us directly back to the point where the debut left us. Forcing drum beats, vibrating basslines, playful guitars and the dreamy voice of lead singer Charlie Hilton. Typical new wave ingredients, packed into not much more than three minutes. Eyesight follows this lush recipe, presents the band quite dreamy. 1000 Years on the other side seems clearer and points with extensive SMITHS references. Hiltons love declaration gets almost hypnotic. While BLOUSE tend to repeat the concept of the debut in terms of their love for the imperfection and a certain lo-fi spirit there are a few changes. The sound wants to be more focussed, more precise. The band left the drum computers and a lot of synthesizers away. Real drum work and noisy, shoegazing wave guitars took the place, giving the whole album a certain garage appeal.

Although the intention might have been good, Imperium in general is not as good as the band’s debut. It feels a bit like the different elements won’t work as good together as they did on the first album. First of it, there’s Hilton’s voice. It’s a quite special one, always sounding a bit out of tune, very hypnotic and partly even uninterested. Her voice might not be quite strong, she always sounds a bit reluctant. There’s a melancholic undertone in it, that much is for sure. But still, there’s a general lack of energy in these songs. Songs like In A Glass or Capote sound quite unmotivated. They might wanna sound psychedelic but in the end they almost seems a bit boring. There is a lack of urgency, especially when you compare it with the bands debut album. There are good moments on it, no doubt. No Shelter is such a track where the combination of the post-punk-like guitars and Hilton’s voice works very good. But it’s far too less for a whole album.

The problem of Imperium might not only be the record itself but its predecessor. The debut of BLOUSE was way more exciting, offered more ideas, better songs and a certain sense of urgency and – yes – a lovely unforced pop appeal. The new one has far too less of all these aspects. A few faster tracks like Arrested would have been a wise choice for this album. There are far too many building lots in the musical universe of BLOUSE. Imperium is not an entirely bad album, it’s a nice release for all fans of dreamy lo-fi sounds. A solid record, but not the one that could have been a follow-up to the promising debut. Let’s cross fingers for the next one.
(Nothing But Hope And Passion)

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Ingo hat gesagt…

6 Punkte

Christoph hat gesagt…

Mochte ich erst nach einigen Durchgängen, nachdem ich den Vorgänger sehr liebe!

Mittlerweile 7,5.

Dirk hat gesagt…

Dann doch lieber direkt Lush und Breeders auf den Plattenteller!

4,5 Punkte

Olly Golightly hat gesagt…

5,5 Punkte