Suffice it to say in this day of ever-growing staleness in the music industry, it’s getting more and more thrilling to find something worth really writing about when it comes your way. As of late, it seems that even the indie labels have been spinning their wheels a bit and churning out dull, meaningless product. But there is a break in the sky and its name is Blusom.
Blusom is a duo. Mike Behrenhausen and Jme, to be exact. And what they do together is a bit hard to put into words so easily. Their new disc The Metapolitan seems hell-bent on changing its course every song, and it does so successfully. Too often these days, bands try their hardest to stretch beyond their own limitations and turn out experimental messes that do them and the listener no good. Blusom, on the other hand, has come to the party with every intent of wreaking havoc in your beer, upsetting the party tray, and possibly dropping some acid in your water supply just for the hell of it.
Make no mistake. This is not your run of the mill psychedelic indie pop. Blusom’s music is all about hitting the central nervous system and twisting it in precise amounts to make the listener go a bit inside himself and discover a few dark corners that he may not have even knew existed previously. If there’s one word that could sum up The Metapolitan, it would have to be autumn. There’s something about it that just feels like when the first cool winds blow the summer away slowly and the days turn crisp.
This might not be apparent on the first tune, “Midnights and Mornings”, which balances out weird electronic blips with acoustic guitar, plucked strings and echo-laden vocals with harmonies so deep you’d need a backhoe to get to the bottom of them. It’s a gorgeous song, one that feels like heaven must, yet it also doesn’t play out the album’s cards immediately. Just when you think this is how The Metapolitan is going to go down, the next song arrives.
“The Ticks: Tick, Tick, Tick” is where that autumnal feeling slides in. And with a chorus like the unbeatable “You’re so sad, and I’m so sad / Why don’t we give it a rest and admit this is the best time we’ve ever had”, Blusom successfully destroys every simpering, worthless emo band out there who would kill to know what real emotion is. But thankfully, Blusom is not emo. This is not a group dominated by an adenoidal post-teen dweeb.
The peaceful “Mayday”, with more echo and a touch of reverb to the mix, comes off like the perfect hymn Brian Wilson never wrote. “Thank god for the summer and this song / Thank god for the summer and the sound / Of traffic driving me to sleep when I am waiting to be swept away” go the words, the music and singing sounding eerily like Pink Floyd’s beautiful “Fat Old Sun” from Atom Heart Mother. It’s perhaps the most moving song here in an album filled with moving songs. Its delicacy is simply perfect.
In the midst of all this beauty, Blusom has time to throw another monkey wrench into the works. On “Versus Nightclubbing”, the group produces an electro-dance mash with schizoid guitar runs melding against breakbeats and hyper-static vocals. Completely left field and more than welcome on an album chock full of musical surprises. But then The Metapolitan shifts gears again and goes all classic creepy Alex Chilton with the unnerving “Carnival”, which sounds like an excellent Sister Lovers outtake.
From there it’s a trip through ’80s electro-pop with “Building Blocks”, the free jazz/experimental grandeur of “No Rivers, No Lips” that forces itself into blasts of pure white noise in one moment, and then goes slightly gothic the next. Then there’s the quiet, hypnotic acoustic pulse of “Greens and Greys”, and the epic closer “Undercurrents” that puts The Metapolitan to bed on lush atmospherics and calm, somber tones that invite the listener to start the whole cycle over again with another push of the play button.
I should point out here that I don’t give out high ratings easily, and anyone who’s read my reviews over the years probably knows I’m not one to gush ecstatically for no reason. But Blusom’s The Metapolitan is a perfect album in each and every way. One of those that you can listen to time and again and discover something new with every play. So if you’re losing faith in the state of originality in music these days, then I urge you to seek out this album and enjoy the vast treasures contained within. Blusom has created the first (and perhaps only) masterpiece of 2005.