As a child growing up in the ’80s I was often babysat by a rotating cast of young women who looked like devout followers of Cyndi Lauper or Pat Benatar. As soon as my old man’s mustard yellow Dodge Charger had cleared the driveway, MTV, still in its infancy, was immediately switched on the only television.
For the next several hours I was witness to some pretty weird shit; Robert Smith wearing more lipstick than my mother, jarring music and the absurdly comic videos of Devo, Talking Heads and The Clash. It was punk. It was new wave. It was sometimes scary, though at the same time mesmerizing. These images of madness and contusions of noise remain to this day some of my strongest childhood memories.
When I listened to Bless‘ new 7″ record, I began to get greedily nostalgic for when I first heard Dinosaur Jr., the Pixies, Sonic Youth, and Fugazi–bands who were turning noise into notation, creating prodigious beauty. Bless continue in this tradition of viscerally taming and shaping the very rawness of punk rock, with the same patience and prestige given to the formation of precious stones.
The three songs on the record mark the follow-up to Bless’ 2015 eponymous debut, and packs a punch despite the fact it clocks in at less than five minutes. The opening track, “You’re Always on TV,” is a smorgasbord of controlled chaos that hinges on punk and new wave. It’s akin to what the nerve ending in Houdini’s brain must have sounded like as he wrestled himself from a straitjacket while hanging upside down underwater. “Sick Puppy” takes a turn into glam-punk, with razor sharp riffs and a capella-esque backing vocals. The closer, “Chameleon,” is a feisty track that ends after 49 seconds. Within the record’s brevity lies its honesty.
Listen to the new record here: