Blisses B – You Should

a power pop wolf wrapped up in folk musicians’ clothing

a power pop wolf wrapped up in folk musicians’ clothing


One look at the liner notes, where you’ll read the words Mandolin, Banjo, Upright Bass and Clarinet, and you’ll appreciate instantly that the guitars accompanying this group of instruments will not be ‘turned up to 11’ as the Tap would say. When you also read that the band are from ‘the fertile music grounds of San Francsico’ (their press release, not mine) you may also be tempted to wipe down the garden furniture, open a bottle of wine and prepare to settle down with a good book and have this play in the background. The wonderful thing about Blisses B is that you’d be right in thinking all of that but also completely and totally wrong as well. You see, Blisses B are a fine contradiction to most pre-conceived ideas as to what folk rock bands should sound like. At least for the most part. I know I’m contradicting myself here but that’s what they do too and I’ll be damned if I’m not having a damn good time listening to them because of it.

On the one hand you’ve got songs like Surfing Boogie Boards. The title alone suggests acoustic guitars and campfires, (It’s a Jack Johnson song waiting to happen, isn’t it?)and sure enough mandolins are strummed, banjos are picked, fiddles are, well, fiddled with and the resulting track is a real barn dance of a number. Next to that though is When In Fact, in which mandolins are once again strummed, banjos are plucked in due course and yet this time you get a power pop wolf of a tune wrapped up in folk musicians’ clothing. Swap the mandolin for a crunchy guitar sound and you’d have the kind of stadium filling anthem some bands spend their whole careers trying to find and here they’ve tossed it off into a folk rock corner that probably means it’ll never get on the radio. Then again, they’ve got the song Wooden Ghosts, which is exactly the kind of power pop tune that A&R guys cream themselves over and is every bit as exciting as you’d want it to be, complete with a disco bass line and the kind of guitar solo that should be outlawed because it’s so much fun.  

Blisses B fall somewhere between a rock and nice place. They’re a stunning little mix of styles and genres and while you probably can’t make head nor tail of half of it, that’s the exact reason why you’ll probably find yourself falling for it. What makes their little recipe work is simple, they’ve got the tunes. Juxtaposed will have you dancing round the kitchen while you’re making pasta, Tick Tock will have you tapping the dashboard at traffic lights waiting for a signal to change and Open Hand, Weak Wrist is the kind of song that can make you think that you probably should have gone out drinking with your mates tonight after all. You Should is the kind of album that you’ll want to spend some time with. It’s endlessly entertaining, rewarding at every turn and as pure a slice of sunshine as you’re likely to find this year.

Never mind the weather, the summer has now officially arrived and it’s wrapped in plastic and sellophane. Buy this album you should.