UK-based singer-songwriter Blake releases his latest album, Plainsongs, and keeps up his mission to make music that sounds timeless and interesting better than ever. On his fourth installment, Blake manages to mash the best of 60s and 70s garage rock with dashes of psychedelia and indie sensibility in a beautiful manner.
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Plainsongs album is made of eleven songs that run for just over forty-two minutes, meaning it’s pretty much a perfect album. It’s a joyous experience that never once gets dull or overwhelming during its length, featuring beautifully written catchy melodies and songs that feel fun and sunny for most of the time. Blake’s influences range from The Velvet Underground to The Beatles – and I hear a splash of R.E.M. and Teenage Fanclub in here too. It’s a straightforward indie rock record, filled with pop nuances and a killer production.
The whole thing kicks off with the excellent pair “Hideaway” and “Time for a Change”, gorgeous tracks that set the tone for what to expect and it never fails to deliver. It works and feels so good mainly because of the live band approach to its production, in the same style as his classic rock influences.
“I wanted to record this L.P. on tape without endless overdubs, like the recordings of the sixties, hence the double meaning in the title, ‘Plainsongs’. The aim was to capture the energy of the songs that I had been performing live with my band before we came into the studio. Musically and lyrically, the songs reflect the influences of the pre-digital era, too”, Blake says about the process of making the record.
Its 60s influences also go to the lyrical themes explored as well, such as anti-war and political songs like “Make Love Not War” and the new wave-inspired “I Wish I Had Never Believed in Love“, written about the 2019 General Election in Britain. Blake also sings about love and relationships, of course, and does so in an honest and human way. The sunny production reflects optimism and hopefulness even when the subject matter strays a bit to the unpleasant and dark side of human emotions.
An amazing songwriter and performer, Blake made an album that has absolutely no fillers – you can listen to the whole thing on repeat and never skip one single track. That itself is an incredible accomplishment. The wide variety of eclectic sounds and ideas is what ties everything together in its right place, knowing exactly what it is doing every second of the way – going back and forth through rough garage rock and subtle experimentations with new-wave, surf rock, and even Gregorian chants. It could be a lot to take in, but Blake does it all so cleverly that it sounds cool from start to finish.
Plainsongs is an album that borrows heavily from classic rock, but at the same that it explores that 60s sound in a very fresh and modern way. Very few people do things like this anymore, and even fewer do it this well.
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You can obviously find it in the following Playlists: Less Than 1,000 Followers, Fresh Singles, Indie Only, Alterindie State Of Mind, 12 New Songs This Week, Chill – Folk – Acoustic, Sickest & Dopest, and Unknown but Essentials!
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