The Blood Group

The Blood Group


Le Grand Magistery

The Blood Group are such a difficult proposition. Like all the most worthwhile and wonderful types of expression (art, even!), they’re shy, skittish, playful, unwilling to commit or restrict themselves past the last melancholy chord or syllable. They’re fucking skirting colossal pop greatness, they are. But with an atypical perversity, the members of this collective just aren’t sure that it’s really what they wanted after all, thank you very fucking much. Case in point: the first two songs. Much like their last record, these are the two best, most affecting numbers. Massive Attack would kill for songs this poignant! But the Blood Group throw them out carelessly, like eating lima beans before the pudding, as if to get the worst out of the way the quickest — like a fast, careless reading at an open mic night that you didn’t even really want to go to. Oh if they only knew… “The Long And Short Of It” is everything that “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” and every other rockstar-roadweary-ballad from the last, hell, thirty years, wanted so desperately to be, packaged into an aching diamond of dub bass, spine-tingling organ and singer Jessica B’s tired, honeyed words. And that they can follow up that baby with “Borrowed Time”? Man, someone sold their soul at the crossroads recently. “Borrowed Time” is the most elegant wash of synth-driven melancholy since, um, “Severance” by Dead Can Dance. Okay? Bands just don’t construct songs like these anymore. But then it gets weird.

Blood Group get, like, embarrassed at these beautiful marble columns that they’ve created, and start disguising and obscuring them with all manner of junk shop kitsch and noise. “Lately I’ve Had a Hard Time” conceals its sadness behind clockwork gears and distorted vocals. Ditto for the hyperbaric chamber music of “Cardinal’s Farm,” though the spare chorus is really nice. And then there are total noise emission tracks like “King Of France” and “Tongue With(in) Tongues.” James Jackson Toth’s vocal turns on “Pagans” and “Escapists” are nice slices of spaceship California rock, but need a little more, y’know? The duets (“Blue Moon #3” and “Long Blonde Hair”) are closest to those first two moments of elegant beauty •- Toth’s and Jessica B’s vocals mix together so effortlessly and (dare we even hope) lovingly. There SHOULDN’T be a dry eye left in the house, okay? But you two starry-eyed kids, ditch the fear and self-consciousness and reach for those glittering heights. The lights are so close now.

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