In the midst of all this chaos, it’s safe to say a lot of us need emotionally charged music that will rid of us of these pent-up-quarantine-emotions. There’s an intense wave of anger, confusion and pure restlessness floating around in our bodies, so how do we cope if we can’t shake these feelings out at a gig? Can’t dance it off with our mates? Well, my solution has been to throw a makeshift concert in my living room: dimmed lights, blasting music and limiting myself to two beers (as they’re typically overpriced at venues).
Through this low-budget version of proper live music experience, I’ve been experimenting with bands that are outside of the 4 that I listen to every day, almost like a substitution lineup you’d get at a music festival. Throw in bands in the “gig” playlist that you’ve heard of but never actually listened to, thus when they do come on you either run to the stage to get a better look or hide in the bathroom until their set is over.
In this makeshift experiment, I’ve had the pleasure of discovering what has very quickly become a new favourite of mine, the three-piece Doncaster-based alternative rock band, The Blinders.
… And by discovered, it may have been a tinder-match recommendation when I used the (free) passport feature to jump oceans. That’s beside the point, but thanks Tom from Liverpool.
(Honestly, a great way to discover more local bands from other countries, I use it for professional reasons, okay?)
Anyways, this English trio instantly captured my attention with their delightful mixture of punk and classic rock influences that you can hear in songs like “Hate Song” and “I Can’t Breathe Blues”, all of which are off their debut LP Columbia (2018).
The three Brits, Matthew Neale (drummer); Charlie McGough (bass player); Thomas Haywood ( guitar & lead vocals) have remarkably balanced intricate Jim Morrison and The Doors influence by incorporating spoken word poetry with rhythmic instrumentals. In songs like “Brutus“, there are many parallels to the composition of this song to The Doors’ “When The Musics Over“, instrumental breakdowns that carry the words of the Bard himself in classic rock inspired barrier.
Crazy enough there are moments in this album where Haywood sounds nearly uncanny to the 60s rock legend. Which could possibly be why it did not take for me to be hooked on this band.
However, unlike The Doors, The Blinders, carry more of a more punk-rock attitude, and since the album is created in times of the 21st-century, they are not afraid to be grittier, more unapologetic, and throw in a more multi-facet magnetism to their songs, that almost blurs the line of what genre they really are.
Initially, this Doncaster band gave me Frank Carter & The Rattlesnake vibes, but that was a lazy first impression connection. Sure, they’re both British bands, and ooze crazy loud energy.. but other than that, that The Blinders can more comfortably label hip-swinging alternative rock, with politically charged punk rock messages.
Now I’ve worked with a few brit-alt-rock bands in my time, such as Demob Happy & The Pale White, to name a few. Both Demob Happy and the Pale White are actually recommended by Spotify if you listen to The Blinders, but I can say with ease that these bands are not equally comparable to one another. The most common ground I have found is that they’re all British and make alternative-leaning music. Still, Demob could be classified as more psychedelic than the three, whereas the Pale White more standard alt-rock. Then, we have The Blinders, who are completely different ball-park.
First off, The Blinders, unlike most Brit-rock bands, have taken the clever move of defining what it is exactly what they want to share and say with their music, and have done so exceptionally well at that if I do say so myself.
Furthermore, The Blinders, unlike a lot of other Brit-rock bands, don’t overly push the ‘too much’ card. The songs are experimental, as mentioned previously, there’s a lot of texture to their debut record, you don’t get the feeling of repetitiveness, and it’s not poorly executed like some of their peers in the genre.
More often than not, new bands step into the scene with a very messy first album because they’ve yet to find their identity and want to try a little bit of everything. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with that, why not try a whole bunch of new things before you have thousands of people watching your every move. However, I think a lot of the time new artists fall down the “too much hole”, leaving listeners with an incohesive album that probably only makes sense to the artist that knows the full thought process behind the album.
Moreover, there’s being experimental, and then there’s trying too hard to be different. Somehow, though, The Blinders skipped that step and introduced themselves to the world with a solid sense of identity. This could be possibly due to the fact that although the band has been jamming together since 2014, they didn’t release their debut album until 2018. Therefore, giving them a solid chunk of time to figure out what works best for them in particular.
Patience really is the key to creating great art.
But bringing back to the notion of “at home gigs”, The northern England lads have released a live album in 2019 that includes all the tracks off their debut album. The record “Live At The Ritz” is the perfect ‘blast in your home’ and have a proper rager (limited to the party of one, of course) live album. The mixing of it is immaculate, but the performance itself? incredible.
The energy that the three create together is absolutely electrifying and definitely scratches the itch we all currently have for live music.
Since discovering the live version of Columbia (2018), I definitely find myself more often opting to listen to that because, as expected, those songs were made to be heard live.
Overall, Columbia (2018) is a solid first album, and something the three should be really proud of. Considering the absolute shit-show 2020 has been thus far, what we as rock music fans need right now is a group of youths that will be the face of this politically angry movement. WE ARE angry, WE are ready to rage and overthrow the government, The Blinders? capture that perfectly with their music.
The trio is definitely a band to keep an eye on because once all this self-isolating bullshit is over, they will be a group you’ll see headlining festivals like Glastonbury in no time.
Until next time Interwebs! 🕸
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