Album Review: Bleech – Humble Sky

If I’m assigned a band of which I have no prior knowledge whatsoever, I like to start by stalking their Facebook page like a cyber bird of prey. If I’ve successfully withstood the self-satisfied bios, ironic descriptions, and/or barrage of pointless posts, I like to build myself into expectation. In one word, East End trio Bleech entirely deflated any chance of me feeling even but a hint of anticipation: grunge. Apparently risen from the grave to which it was sent long after it had lost all of its taste and originality, any semblant of relevance fiercely beaten into the ground by swathes of recycled ideas and tired formulas. Much like today’s non-ironic hair metal bands, their lack of widespread popularity is perhaps not so much due to the genre itself, but its connexion with a time and a place that isn’t ours. In an effort to solve that problem, Bleech dilute their grunge with a LOT of melody and, in an effort to exacerbate the problem, seem to want to inject a little Brit-pop in there as well.

Never is this more obvious than on opening track ‘Not Like You’. There’s something about that early drum beat that should immediately remind listeners of the feistier bits of Blur. The trio isn’t just a patchwork of influences though. The dual female vocal attack mixes a lead that almost borders on the typically british drawl (an approach that works great, I’d like to specify) and Kim Deal-esque backing vocals. A considerable amount of time and effort has quite evidently been poured into getting that mix right, and it works magic on tracks like ’I Just Want You and ’Easy Ride’, a languid highlight of the album.

Instrumental-wise, on the other hand, the approach is perhaps a little more straight-forward. The crux of their tracks is, at all times, the melody. Even on tracks where they allow themselves to push their amps a little (as is the case on ’Love Is Free’ or, a better example still, ‘Marching Song’), the arrangements always strive for utmost comprehensibility and, with the addition of our examples’ catchy choruses, make for eminently melodic rides. There’s something to be said about the band’s skill at maintaining those levels of melody without feeling like they’re stalling. Indeed, if that consistency doesn’t help the songs distinguish themselves from one another on a first listen, consecutive spins allow for the careful craft of each track to come to the for. There’s precision in the songwriting and an obvious attention to detail with regards to production.

I can’t claim that Bleech are going to blow your mind, and there’s no denying they’re hardly the most enticing prospect at first glance, but if anything they do deserve you give them a listen. ‘Humble Sky’ is a solid rock album that builds on a light approach to grunge that also makes the most of its Brit-pop songwriting lineage (the better side of it, I’ll let you figure out which one that is). It ultimately feels like they barely get into their first gear and it’s worth wondering what they might come up with if they step on the accelerator.


’Humble Sky’ by Bleech is out now on Bucks Music Group Publishing.

Bleech links: Facebook|Official Website|Twitter

Words by James Berclaz-Lewis (@swissbearclaw)


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