Blood and Glass is one of those rare music acts that can’t be boxed into a single genre, and their sophomore album, Punk Shadows, is a slowly simmering stew of ambient dream-pop with both proto and post-punky flavors. However, it only plays on the fringes of these definitions. By combining droning synth noise with sugary vocals, the band crafts something neither old nor new, present nor distant. Instead the result is Zen: an almost occult trance-inducing experience from the first to the final minutes; best experienced with a black light and some damn good tea.
Beginning with the industrial elevator music of “Block of Ice,” the band sets the stage for what is to come. The song is haunting, not just in its lo-fi minor key darkness, but truly, jarringly discomforting with its sudden tonal skips and shits; all coupled with distorted, atonal screeching, and singer-songwriter Lisa Moore’s distant chanting.
The album follows suit with a complete shift. Unlike the prior track, “Illusions,” and title track, “Punk Shadows,” it feels poppy, repetitive, and oddly upbeat. Yet unlike mainstream pop, this is more artful, not corporately manufactured. The repetitiveness feels more akin to modernism’s minimalist expressions. If Cyndi Lauper had collaborated with Andy Warhol, I would imagine this would be the result.
However, it is the center point of the EP that really shows the band’s prowess. The final duo of songs, “Nowheresville” and “Submarine,” dive back into slow-droning oddness. If the entire album comprised of just these two tracks, it would still be well worth the full purchase price.
The track, “Submarine,” stands heads above the rest of the album for its thematic quality. Beginning as a moody piano tune, it slowly begins to swell into a march of violins and synthesizers all lead by Moore’s painful chants. Yet, the result is overwhelmingly peaceful and reflective as staring into a pool of koi at sunset.
Music that moves you to wag your butt and/or bang heads are great, but sometimes there is more value in music that simply moves you. That’s exactly what this record does. Sure, there are a couple danceable tunes here, but none in the club-vibe style; more in the Hippy Shuffle kind of way. But more so, the album is a sonic museum of pop art, something to take in slowly and reflect on afterward.
Punk Shadows drops March 2017 via Simone Records.
Check out the band’s official website for more news and tour dates.
Download the album via the Blood and Glass Bandcamp page.