Music Reviews
Ride Your Heart

Bleached Ride Your Heart

(Dead Oceans) Rating - 4/10

Bleached recently curated a mixtape for BEATmagazine with tracks from Blondie, The Replacements, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Velvet Underground, and even the Kinks and Rolling Stones. Clearly, their influences weigh heavily upon their sound with Dead Boy a seeming Blondie outtake, whilst their sun-soaked surf rhythms draw them closer to modern contemporaries like Best Coast. As a statement of their intention, that mixtape seems like an honourable homage to their heroes, but in translation, it seems they need to search more thoroughly for their own definable aesthetic.

Almost immediately we begin to question the significance of the sound which is so heavily indebted. Anyone whose heard Bleached singles, and particularly Next Stop, has already had a fair slice of the Bleached repertoire in terms of its expanse (or lack thereof). In fact, there can be no discussion of originality here in terms of sound, it’s tiresomely regurgitated rhythms leave us nodding like a metronome with almost zero deviation from the single plateau of arrangement. After even a casual spin through the tracks, we realise that this monotonous construction is all there’s ever going to be.

Aside from this obvious disappointment, in which they seem to work from a blueprint, creating rock lullabies by juxtaposing soft female vocal with a raunchier sound (which has been explored thoroughly enough to have lost its novelty at this point), the message seems an apathetic (or, indeed, pathetic) pandering to masculinity. Prominent lyrical phrases like, ‘He’s my guy and I won’t let him get away’, and, ‘Get out of my mind boy, you know I think about you all of the time’ seem to suggest an anti-independent, anti-riot grrrl approach.

After the 20th Anniversary of that most fated UK tour, it seems an appropriate comparison to make. The sound certainly complies, but the message could not contradict that movement more wholeheartedly, and strikes as a marked comparison that exposes the lack of purpose. Indeed, the theme is an entire cliché of lost love and the same old cries for redemption from a lost lover. Take for instance the looped, ‘Come on back’ at the end of Searching Through The Past. We have to ask: Where is this record heading? And it seems, regressively far back beyond Riot Grrrl, perhaps even pre-Stones, to a time when female independence was itself a myth.

The only message is hapless female despair that relies upon men to resolve all troubles in their lives. There is undoubtedly a subtext of desperation beneath the largely uptempo bravado that supposes revolution in its sound but amounts to absolute compliance in lyrical content. However, a much more interesting narrative for the record would have been to explore the modern female perspective. But that’s just it, Bleached aren’t taken with any modern concern whatsoever.

Bleached have discovered that they have a canny knack for inoffensive rhythms, melodies and harmonies which will immediately appeal. But where this record needed to provide an abrasive counterpoint in the lyrics, they’re more sickly sweet than the music. There isn’t a necessity to be complex, and their simplicity has a certain appeal, but just to offer an interesting take with a modicum of ambition.

When I Was Yours’ is essentially the prime purveyor of the Bleached message, the only message, of worthlessness without male gratification. It defies any worthwhile comparisons to those whom they associate, and appears to suggest that Bleached are writing songs the way they believe they are supposed to be written and not the way they would creatively write them. It regurgitates with not only a lack of originality but absolute dismissiveness of deviation and it panders to an already male-orientated society with clichéd phrases and subject matter. The fact is, there’s nothing that hasn’t been said, performed and expressed before and in the same manner, so why bother?