Born Blonde - What The Desert Taught You (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
WEST London’s Born Blonde have come a long way since their formation in 2009 when Arthur Delaney enlisted Fraser and George as musicians for a solo folk music project. Schoolmates Josh and Tom were next to join.
Over the ensuing years, they’ve honed their sound to eschew folk values in favour of 60s psychedelia, blues and folk and late 80s/early 90s shoegaze, but all directed through a 21st century prism.
Working with Simon ‘Barny’ Barnicott (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian), they’ve now delivered their debut album in the form of What The Desert Taught You and generally succeed in making you take notice.
Enclosed within is a band who clearly like to disorientate and confound, creating a sound that’s as distinct, at times, as it is prone to nods towards their inspirations, from Oldfield to Shields via Ashcroft and Chadwick.
Instrumentally, especially, they have a lot going on that’s worthy of admiration. Album opener, Solar, for instance, is positively brimming with lush guitars, slick drum beats and electronic elements that fuse to create a fascinating whole. Vocally, it adopts a slightly shoegaze sensibility. But it succeeds in kicking things off in strong fashion.
I Just Wanna Be, if anything, leans more towards ’90s indie sensibilities and has a touch of the James about it, while The Architect opts for a more breezy acoustic guitar disposition that gets the toes tapping.
Another highlight then crops up in Light On, which hints at an electronic song, before hitting you with some of the album’s most emphatic, and rousing, guitar riffs. It has that touch of James about it, too.
Elsewhere, Signs of Fear serves further notice of their stadium filling potential, arriving with a solid back-beat and a keen sense of melodicism, as well as some swirling electronic elements. It’s a confident offering that shows the band can do reflective and keep things chirpy (lyrically, it does some soul searching).
Evidence of their more psychedelic tendencies, meanwhile, is apparent on Other Side, before an even more epic slice of psychedelia arrives in the form of These Days I Dream of Pyramids, another highlight.
Wide Eyed rounds things off in equally satisfying fashion, dabbling in yet more psychedelia, thereby ensuring that Born Blonde have impressed with their debut in the here and now, while laying some encouraging signs for the future too.
Download picks: Light On, Solar, Signs of Fear, These Days I Dream of Pyramids.