Sarah Smith and Zach Phillips, better known as Blanche Blanche Blanche, live by the element of risk. This becomes clear upon listening to their latest full-length record “Wooden Ball”, where the unpredictability reaches palpable levels. These prolific young masters of harmony from Brattleboro, Vermont have spent the last couple years recording and releasing nearly 10 full-length records worth of brilliant and confounding musical quicksand. Describing it in words can be difficult, but make no mistake that these songs are both highly calculated, and drenched in paradox. Manic keyboard lines are pounded out with hyper chops, running circles around octopus basslines. Each progression is seemingly different from the last, showing a simultaneous reverence and destruction of the tonal study. Percussion pads are guided by ruthless polyphony at an intense, hummingbird-paced tempo, with lines and melodies colliding at every junction, clashing and crashing, like the most fluid and elegant car wreck you’ve never seen. The cutting, topical lyrics and deadpan, bare-bones vocal delivery are wholly original, while undoubtedly fueled by the eternal flame of the “punk” spirit and DIY ethics. Most importantly, at the heart of the all the technicality, lies the warmth of the human element. “Wooden Ball”, like most BBB, was lovingly recorded to four-track tape, so you can tangibly feel the intention of these spirited musicians. This taps into what seems to be an emerging Vermont-style, evident in other locals artists like Ryan Power, Son Of Salami, Chris Weisman, or Happy Jawbone Family Band – raw, no-rules songwriting, unattached to genre or principal. The revenge of the “small town” feel, where rock and roll is in the eye of the beholder. There must be something in the syrup…
Mastered and cut by Lupo at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
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