Um... hell yes? Of all the things to come out of the chillwave blogosphere of old, 2010's Blooming Summer was the best. Blue Hawaii are the electronic sister band of Braids and together the duo have gone on to make cold, disassociating dance music; on their first record, though, they made distraught, aching tunes the likes of their fleeting genre had never known. Blooming Summer is a short little masterpiece of visceral heartbreak and bubbling synthwork.
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Hopefully we can take this one from out under the radar and into your heart. Blue Hawaii is the canny side project of Braids’ Raphaelle Standell-Preston, who makes icicle-dropped electronica with the help of Alex Kerby. By now they’ve charted two excellent full-lengths, but where those supply disassociated zombie pop, early work ‘Blooming Summer’ stands out as a heart-shattered opus, a gorgeously sad set of tunes killing the chillwave party with romantic tragedy.
In eight short songs, Standell-Preston and Kerby reinvented the landscape of bloggable synth music, taking the idiom of bands like Memory Tapes and Washed Out and twisting it into torch songs. “Blue Gowns” is a devastating tune with an aggressively bubbling synth and lyrics about the torture of break-up: “I see you thrusting into her / and I ask myself, how stupid can you get?”. That sort of plain-spoken devastation cuts through the beach air of their aesthetic, taking the listener out of the carefree miasma their sound has set up.
Blue Hawaii’s sound developed into something nifty and cerebral, but hearing them back then, and this stark, was a real shot in the arm, a turmoil worth engaging in. It's a hidden gem of its genre and you should seek it out.
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- Blooming Summer by Blue Hawaii
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