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Blondes – Lovers review

Whilst Teengirl Fantasy’s “Cheaters” proved to be one of last year’s most enduring tracks, the album it was culled from was perhaps overshadowed in the coherency stakes by the shorter but more sumptuous sounds of the Touched EP from Merok label mates and compatriots Blondes.

Anyone who was sucked in by the slow burning delights of tracks such as the 11 minute epic “Moondance” or the Milli Vanilli sampling “You Mean So Much To Me” will have elicited a certain gleeful shriek of excitement at the news boutique label RVNG INTL was working with the NYC duo on a series of conceptual twelve inch releases spread across the months of 2011. The first release, centred on the theme of love and hate, can only be described as auspicious!

If there was any criticism of the tracks on Touched it was that the composition was too linear. On the evidence of “Lover” and “Hater” it seems Zach Steinman and Sam Haar have become more adventurous in their approach to production – a natural occurrence for the duo that has toured extensively in the period before and after Touched was released.

This new material builds on the heady hypnosis of these early productions, delivering them in a more polished veneer that retains the duo’s capacity for devastation but adds a certain pervasive, darker element which elevates the music to higher levels. “Lover” is Blondes at their tribalistic best, steadily building from woozy beginnings into a throbbing house rhythm drowned out by shamanistic chanting courtesy of some smart Meredith Monk sampling. A potent part of the Blondes live set, “Lover” remains powerful here, not least when the midpoint momentum gets turned up a notch.

Flipside excursion “Hater” arises from a sonic mist naturally cloaked in dark tones, with the crisp cascading percussion seemingly acting in reverse as it cuts through the thick bottom heavy throb. What really impresses is how Blondes twist the track inside out, bringing drawn out colourful melodic textures to the fore as “Hater” mutates into a thrillingly industrial slice of modern electronic music. It’s one of those tracks that make you crave the colour synesthesia condition to experience the progression and little explosions of sound on another, more engrossing level.

Tony Poland