The Blood Group’s debut EP, Everything Forgotten Gathers at the Ceiling, is little more than 20 minutes long. This is only remarkable because The Blood Group utilizes every moment of those 20 minutes, creating a work that is more moving and more complete than most works twice its length.
Beginning with the discomforting “Odin”, The Blood Group sets the tone for the rest of the EP. It is an uncertain reality, filled with defeat and doubt, expressed through restrained synthesizers and lead singer Jessica B’s mournful vocals. “Odin” is the standout track of Everything Forgotten Gathers at the Ceiling, but is not the only reason to listen. The laid-back vibe of “Tout le Temps” and then the spooky hypnotism of “Capsule Capsule” lead into the most direct song on the EP. “Holes in the Sun” where the childlike background riff belies the sorrow Jessica B reveals. The atmospheric swirls of “The Antivert” separate the pensive “Left of the Moment” and the heartbroken “Light II” from the rest of the EP. It concludes with a quick deluge of sound called “Lovelife”.
The Blood Group comes across as fairly even at first, combining subtle electronic elements with traditional rock instruments. Only on repeated listens does Everything Forgotten Gathers at the Ceiling reveal what masters the members of The Blood Group are. With meticulous production that hasn’t been overdone and a willingness to experiment with sound, The Blood Group knows exactly what it is doing. With the more abstract tracks, like “The Antivert” and even “Lovelife”, it shows an intuitive understanding of composition and song structure. This is pushed further in the longer tracks and gives each individual song a feeling of wholeness while also providing structure for the entire EP. Although this is a debut, The Blood Group obviously already understands its strength as a band and makes the most of its collective talent.
Even lyrically the band shines. With surprising insight, the band constructs haunting images and moments that expose very private pain. In “Odin”, the first lines are “and we pretended to be sleeping. I tried to see how many of your breaths I could go without breathing” and are delivered by Jessica B in a defeated sigh. Later, in “Left of the Moment,” she whispers, “The world is charged with the fear of God. There’s a penalty for such innocence”, as if she’s letting the listener in on her secret. The lyrics and vocals blend effortlessly with the music, neither one overpowering the other, but instead complementing each other effortlessly.
Although the all-French “Tout le Temps” comes across as a bit pretentious and “Capsule Capsule” seems like something the band was just playing around with, both tracks are still enjoyable and provide a good sense of fearlessness to Everything Forgotten Gathers at the Ceiling. The band shows that even on these two weaker tracks it has a willingness to take chances, even if it isn’t completely successful in doing so. The Blood Group has surprising maturity and depth even when they falter.
With the strength that The Blood Group displays on a 20-minute EP like Everything Forgotten Gathers at the Ceiling, it will be remarkable to find out what the band will be able to do with a longer work. Until then, however, listeners will find themselves altogether satisfied by the eight tracks The Blood Group has provided here.