Masterminds behind the excellent WOMANPRODUCER project, Melissa Dyne and Khaela Maricich turn left on their latest LP as The Blow. Built from a modular synth rig five years in the making, the pair turn in a set of songs that manage to be both confessional and coy. While the vocals and instrumentals have an intimacy that makes it feel like The Blow are whispering in your ear, the clever turns of phrase (musical and lyrical) mean you keep following the pair down the winding synth-pop path of Brand New Abyss. Songs like 'The Woman You Want Her To Be' bring to mind a less bustling iteration of tUnE-yArDs.
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Bright and low-key; that’s how you do it. All synth-central indie pop should hereby be directed by Melissa Dyne and Khaela Marichich, whose songs offer sparkle-toned melodies and exuberant chimes, albeit undercut by mumbled and quietly uttered vocals that deliver poignancy for those who care to listen. The Blow deviate a familiar synth pop sound -- one that echoes the Magnetic Fields in their early days -- into something strange and sideways.
Using samplers and modular synths, it’s no wonder this record rattles against the ears, its repetitive and often head-scratching melodies feeling like they live in a solitary world of their own. They come across sparsely; the oscillating rhythm of “Dark Cold magic” runs contra to the hook the duo are presenting, the whole thing sounding a magical kind of raw.
The lyrics -- inquisitive, soul-searching and personal-political -- are easy to miss on a record like this, one where the ears are perked by the stark and peculiar leftfield of the music. Like the songs they're positioned in (and out of), they’re unlike anything you'd expect. This record will be on my mind for the rest of the day.
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