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Killer album of bleak synth-wave from Seattle's Nicole Carr, who has released a whole bunch of cassettes as Bloom Offering, but this is the first of her recordings to make its way onto vinyl.
Opening cut ‘Swallow Me Whole’ feels like a genuine paradox. The lyrics feel kinda vulnerable and submissive, yet she exudes pure attitude that basically sounds like she’s someone you really don’t wanna get on the wrong side of. Her voice and lyrics are a cathartic outpour backed by often skeletal industrial drums and deliciously dark melodies. The gorgeous ‘Fishbowl’ layers spoken and ethereal vocals over shadow-like melodies and a throbbing pulse. ‘Fit Of A God Complex’ is a slo-mo chug cloaked in a subtly fizzing hiss, crackle and distortion, with an eerie foregrounded melody. Her vocal seems to be emitting a series of barely discernible, mysterious questions.
‘Venus Shrugged’ is equally propulsive as it is narcotic - the simplicity of the two-word title lyric evocative of just what the mythical Roman goddess would make of the current state of sexual politics. She goes hard with feminine rage on banger ‘Out 2 Get U’. Look out male scumbags - I almost fear castration just listening to it! ‘Simple Math’ utilizes a euphoric but kinda woozy melody, combined with optimistic vocal and darker pitched down vocal interplay. Closing track ‘Imperfect Absence’ is perhaps the records most gleaming moment, with its majestic sparkling and twinkling synths, and yet the pitched down vocals seem to relay a sense of dissatisfaction. The lyrics are very difficult to discern but the vibe I get is slightly misanthropic but only because Nicole Carr knows or at least hopes that humanity can do better.
So, think a melting pot of the icy elements of Posh Isolation, the forlorn side of Tropic of Cancer, Carla dal Forno’s pop sensibility, and Janushoved’s production aesthetic. ‘Episodes’ could almost be a lost goth/darkwave/minimal wave classic but explores more current themes of gender power. Seems like people are having these conversations all over social media but very few artists are incorporating them into their music. Bloom Offering’s execution is subtle - she doesn’t shove it down your throat but it’s in there - a deeply personal and intimate record that really connected with me. I guess it is a bleak record, but not in a depressing way, and after all - we often need to wander around in the dark to find the light.
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