Bleached - Ride Your Heart

by Amy Putman Rating:9 Release Date:2013-04-01

If I were making a feminist flick about contemporary cowgirls kicking the shit out of 'them what done them wrong' - like a Tarantino film that passes the Bechdel test - then this album would be the soundtrack. It's the best of riot grrrl with a splash of 80s. It's honest, at times raw or angry, tuneful, and surprisingly sweet. It veers from frank disgust and challenge to open-hearted gentleness. What it never becomes is false or pretentious.

My predominant emotion upon hearing this album was joy; intense, unwavering joy. That's not to say all the songs are joyful, though most of them are certainly playful, but the joy I felt was simultaneously objective appreciation of some of the best actual songwriting I've heard in years, and the expansive subjective joy of hearing one's innermost thoughts expressed intricately and melodiously by a another soul. If I could hand-pick a team to live with, survive with and fight with in case of a zombie apocalypse/need to restart the whole of human society/alien invasion/vampire situation, then the members of Bleached would be somewhere damn near the top of the list.

I want them as my comrades. I already feel as though they have read my inner-self in ways I can't even do. They reveal bits I had hidden from my own awareness. It was probably last weekend. I did feel a bit off last weekend.

In any case, they manage to address complex emotions and situations with a light-hearted simplicity which makes their process seem like a game they play on a sunny afternoon sometimes. Their lyrics are fun and witty at the same time as being truthful. They are poets who choose to present with a warm smile and a ribald wink. Their melodies are clear and jaunty and memorable. The aesthetic is a little retro; neon-thunderbolt emblazoned biro-zine with a vinyl finish.

Bleached are lovable and erudite, making points and observations with banter cakes and colourful sneakers. They have the mild scent of Le Tigre about them. As far as I'm concerned, Bleached are one of the greats of their genre. They are up to date but without losing the roots of the scene; original, quirky, emotional and energetic.

This album makes you want to break out the electrical tape and face-paint, head for the queer night, jump around and get all sweaty. It makes you want to trek to a field in the middle of nowhere with warm beer and cow pats to hear them play. It's the sound of enthusiasm and the joy of human imperfection; the glory of all our dirty secrets and squishy bits. This album negates insecurity and fear and tells you to stand up and be proud of your own special weirdness, to revel in your strange and contradictory emotional moonscape.

If there were ever an album which should be spun out into space for aliens to understand what being a naked ape is really all about, this would get my vote. It's not groundbreaking or experimental and it won't bend your mind or change your world, but it distils what it does better than any other band I know and sums up life in a single mixed sigh, shrug, grimace and grin sequence. This record is an expressive face. It's not high concept art but it says what it needs to and you know it's on your side.*

*Unless you're evil, selfish or mean in which case don't get this album... And by the way, fuck you.

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