The artwork of Blissful Red’s ‘Less Than’ album is simple but amazing. I mean, who doesn’t love an avocado? Beyond that, there’s just something super free and creative about the watercolor style. What I’m trying to say is that although I’m not really in the mood for new music right now and would much rather continue my Grey’s Anatomy binge while working, I know that this album deserves my attention.
Kicking this quick six-song album off is “April & Mark”. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect from Blissful Red, I really liked how this album starts off without holding back. Although super calming and almost meditative with dream-like vocals, there’s a sense of energy from the simplistic instrumentation that drives this opening track forward. Although I’m absolutely a lyric-loving girl, I really loved the short instrumental break about a minute in this track because it was so easy to get lost in it all. This whole almost therapeutic vibe continues into “Chilblains” but this second track has a bit more of a pep in it’s step. A little almost surf-rock styled with the guitarwork in the track, this was another super easy song to drift off to. The vocals, although in the same style as “April & Mark” have an almost vintage tone to them in this song but I can’t tell if that’s a shift in the vocals or just the shift in overall style. Regardless, I am here for it and can’t wait for more of that in the remaining four tracks.
I’ll be honest, the typo in “No Offence (But You’re Not John Lennon)” kind of annoyed me but this track brought yet another feeling to the album so that annoyance didn’t last long. This song may not be my favorite track on the album and I feel like the vocals felt a bit rougher around the edges in this track than they did in the previous songs but I really loved the new tone of the distorted, almost sludgy, guitar here and how it made the track feel completely different yet again than the previous two tracks while still having this distinct signature that can only be described as Blissful Red.
“Frenemies” kicks off with a simple yet addicting drumbeat before an acoustic guitar and those dreamy vocals come back in and take the track away. At just under four and a half minutes long, this is one of the lengthier tracks on this album but the circular motion of the instrumentation made it feel much quicker than that. There’s really nothing that particularly stood out to me in this track but sometimes that’s okay. Again, like the previous tracks, I found myself completely lost in Blissful Red’s world and I was more than okay with that.
As soon as “Peaked at School” started, I knew I was in love. There’s a playful nature to this track and although the balance between vocals and instrumentation seemed a bit rawer than in the previous songs, I loved the feeling that this gave the song. Whether it was on purpose or a happy little accident, I just really felt something emotionally raw about this song that reminded me a bit of The Moldy Peaches when it came to the style but it definitely is far from a carbon copy. Honestly, now that I write that out, I realize how obscure of a comparison that is but I think if you listen to The Moldy Peaches the same way I do, it will make sense to you.
“Shave Your Head and Walk Backwards” ends ‘Less Than’ on a triumphant note. Throughout the other tracks, I never got a feeling of commercialism or heard a piano but you get both of those things in this final track. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a commercial song and is still drenched in complicated emotion and raw vocals but the composition of this track just felt a bit more standard than the previous. Typically, this wouldn’t be a good thing but, for the journey that is ‘Less Than’, this was an amazing way to end the album and might be a nod to what’s to come from Blissful Red. Whether that’s what it is or not, you can find me on the Blissful Red train from here on out.
My Favorite Track(s): “Peaked at School”
For Fans Of: Emotionally Drenched Vocals; Getting Lost in Music; Subtle Power
Mosh-ability: .7 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie Slept on the Couch; Autumn chirped at the birds outside
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 6.5 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10
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