Blanche

What This Town Needs

by Stephen Haag

20 March 2007

 

For a band that has always seemed preserved in amber, it’s a fitting, if not ideal, scenario for gothic alt-country weirdoes Blanche to be stuck with a finished album and no label to distribute it. V2 Records, the band’s former home, shuttered its doors recently, in time for the band to release the EP What This Town Needs, but too soon for the band’s follow-up to 2004’s If We Can’t Trust the Doctors… to see the light of day (though a little googling reveals the new LP, Little Amber Bottles, is due out in late March on Loose Records). What This Town Needs makes for a decent stopgap EP, but it can’t quite do the heavy lifting required of a full-length album. The band, led by Dan Jon Miller and Tracee Mae Miller, are still capable of approaching the off-kilter, seemingly late-18th-century weirdness that made their debut such a winner, notably on the banjo stomper “Never Again” (the Millers are at their best when they’re reveling in anti-social behavior; here Dan Miller is threatening self-immolation with “Your love will burn out and leave me in pain”). The other studio tracks captured on What This Town Needs are still enchanting, courtesy Tracee’s vocals (see “Scar Beneath the Skin”), but they’re less spooky, and less Blanche-y. It’s hard to say what the change is, or if it’s simply a band evolving naturally, but for the first time, Blanche doesn’t sound like a forgotten wax cylinder recording.

What This Town Needs

Rating:

Topics: blanche
 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//related
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article