REVIEW: The Blow: Bonus Album
The Blow: Bonus Album [K, 2002] (mp3s)
Three words? Clever name? Nope.
The Blow is the solo work of Microphones contributor, Khaela Maricich, but whatever work she may have done with Phil Elvrum's big-visioned and atmospheric Microphones clearly didn't rub off. On Bonus Album, we are presented with nine songs in roughly twenty minutes that are admitted to be 'like finding odds and ends in a purse.' Unlike bands such as the aforementioned Microphones or Wilco, however, who would take these odds and ends and create something beautiful, The Blow doesn't seem to know what to do with them. Instead, we are left with skeletons of songs and ideas. Seeds of ideas sewn and forgotten - unwatered and abandoned as new ideas are planted.
The EP starts off with "The Democracy Of Small Things", a song that is simply Mairicich's voice on a couple of vocal tracks and with a simple, somewhat uninteresting synth line. Often on the disc, there is nary an instrument to be found: see "Some Chocolates", acappella save for the handclap accompaniment in the far background. The song almost works, if Maricich weren't so insincere and the lyrics so downright silly.
With a rollicking percussion section and catchy rhythm guitar, Bonus Album finally wakes up on the second-to-last cut, "Watch The Water Roll Up". This is the kind of pop - light, breezy, a bit off the cuff and all jumbled up - that Khaela reaches for, and misses, everywhere else on the EP. It's really too bad that the throwaway, instructional children's track "Little Sally Tutorial" closes off the release.
The Blow promises a "spectacular" debut full-length this year. Here's hoping that the hand of producer Phil Elvrum is more prominently felt on that record, and that Mairicich walks into the studio with some better realized ideas, rather than ideas seemingly scribbled on the edges of napkins.