by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
For the past three years, Abbotsford, BC’s Blessed have been making increasingly mutant post-punk that defies expectations, eschews common structures and forms, and breeds its own alien landscapes. With every single and EP released, the band have spent a massive amount of time on the road, playing hundreds of shows a year, earning a reputation among everyone lucky enough to catch them as of the best live bands in the DIY world. After a flurry of exceptional introductory releases comes Salt, the band’s meticulous full length debut, an album with enough jaw-dropping moments you might as well just leave your damn mouth open. Blending together fractured shards of garage punk, krautrock, post-hardcore, and experimental no-wave, Blessed’s sound is laser-beam focused and expanded further in every direction on their first attempt at album length exploration.
Consistently pounding and pulsating with rhythms that feel near mechanical but shift without notice, Blessed swerve around intricate beats, their guitars and synths swarming like an infestation that grows between each tightened groove. It’s an uncanny ability to be both hypnotic and wildly divergent, keeping an audience transfixed despite an avalanche of sharp changes and knotted progressions. Songs like “Pill” and the immersive “Zealot” pride themselves in keeping expectations off balanced, never settling into place as the band follow their own warped rabbit hole downward into a vortex of unbelievably locked in and spaced-out punk brilliance. There’s a sense of patience in their music as Blessed are careful not to rush, each movement is given its time to simmer and evolve, sometimes exploding into blooms of colorful dissonance and other times opting not to resolve. Either way they do it, there’s a resonance that isn’t quickly shaken, and repeat listens only continue to profound.
Salt is as forward thinking as they come and it’s not without its risks. “Anchor” is an apocalyptic bit of glitchy experimentation, full of tension and dampened production. The song feels something like hurtling into sun as your ship begins to break apart, bolt by bolt. “Disease” carries a similarly dark feel but with a new-wave influence. Heavy on synths and romanticized melodic heft, it’s a new direction for Blessed’s jagged exercises of rhythmic convulsions, but it works, wriggling in a batch of big hooks and industrial tinged pop. Blessed are continuously proving themselves capable of it all, evident on album closer “Caribou,” a visceral yet minimalist cementing of that notion. The polyrhythmic drums nearly topple over themselves in an intelligently primal way before the air clears, the rhythm drops out and the fog rolls in, the ringing guitar feedback and swirling atmosphere thickening. The band lurch back in from one unrestrained fill to the next, built on the juxtaposition of a dreamy tonality while everything violently quakes just beneath it all. It’s that duality that makes Blessed so special, their masterful way of creating something both serene and catastrophic, executed with unbridled perfection.
Blessed’s Salt is out April 5th.