Blouse

Blouse

Blouse

There’s a tingling chill running through Blouse’s self-titled debut album that suggests both erotic reverie and nervous foreboding. The Portland, Ore.-based electronic pop unit combines the suavity of Beach House with the romantic angst of ‘80s icons like Modern English and Talk Talk. Singer Charlie Hilton’s languid vocals and elusive lyrics are beguiling yet remote, sustaining a dreamlike mood. The near-martial tempo of “Roses” contrasts nicely with the moaning distortion of “Videotapes” and the grimy atmospherics of “White.” A mentholated mist pervades “Time Travel,” underscoring the song’s askew perspective. Themes of alienation and longing predominate, with “Firestarter” and “Controller” hinting at smoldering desires beneath the icy sonic veneer. “Fountain in Rewind” ends the album on an unexpectedly grand note, matching an expansive soundscape with Hilton’s visions of ultimate release. Blouse seems to be a work in progress, but this provocative first effort shows the band is heading for fascinating territory.

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