I hardly buy music magazines these days. I love printed media, but to quote Morrissey, they don’t tell me anything about my (musical) life anymore. We are not even on the same planet. The musical press stayed in the 90’s, while the rest of us moved on – just go to the nearest newsagent and have a look at the shelves. With all my love for Weller and The Gallaghers, there are only so many articles about them I can read.
Try to find a story about Avalanche Party, The Ninth Wave or The Blinders for that matter in mainstream publications. With the exceptions of IDLES, Fontaines DC and maybe Murder Capital – new music doesn’t exist for musical press. So I buy zines instead. ‘Into The Grooves’, ‘Why Generation?’ or ‘Some Might Say’ – not only cover best of the circuit, but actively champion bands and open so many doors in the industry for them. ‘Some Might Say’ founder Sahera Walkers was one of the first in the country to give The Blinders proper coverage both in print and online, sounding an alarm that a band like no other had appeared on the horizon. I remember one of our conversations where she proclaimed that we`d have to wait for Blinder`s second album to truly appreciate the genius of the Doncaster trio. Well, here we are four years later reviewing the younger sister to ‘Columbia’.
‘Fantasies of Stay At Home Psychopath’ is dark, dystopian and bleak – you can almost say this is Johnny Dream’s and Codeine Scene’s (band`s stage alter egos if you don’t know) act II. Most songs on the album were well known to the fans from live shows, so there were no shocks and unpleasant surprises. The Blinders have a characteristic sound and formula on how to write songs. They mix literature, poetry and their love of art house cinema with post punk fury and heavy, psychedelic edge. It separates them from the Twisted Wheels and The Lathums of the world. If your idea of music is “lads bands” then The Blinders are not for you. This band has standards. They may not score number 1 on the charts (‘Fantasies…’ debuted at number 41 in the top 100) but they have built a dedicated, cult following unlike any other band in recent years.
Similarly to ‘Columbia’, ‘Fantasies…’ is ‘divided’ in two. The first part includes shorter but angry tracks such as ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, ‘Lunatic (With A Loaded Gun)’ and ‘Forty Days and Forty Nights’. The second part features slower, more ambitious songs such as ‘Mule Tracks’ & ‘From Nothing to Abundance’. ‘Black Glass’ is a long composition that reminds of ‘Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall’ and will surely serve as a new show ender when the band returns to touring. ‘In This Decade’ – delicate and reflective closes the album. Spoken word piece ‘Interlude’ brings both ‘sides’ of the LP together.
‘Fantasies of Stay At Home Psychopath’ is a mature, thoughtful and eloquent record. It shows the band as accomplished musicians with confidence and artistic vision. What I particularly love is how they stick to their own model and consistently improve their sound, rather than shake up and force change. What I don’t like? The Bugs Bunny lyrics in ‘I Want Gold’. I also think ‘Circle Song’ should remain a Thomas Haywood solo composition. It`s an incredible track when Haywood performs it himself. It loses all its charm and significance when revisited as Blinders track.
So what now for the trio? With two well received LP’s and a live album (‘Live At The Ritz’ from last year) they will surely continue to climb higher in the industry. I`d love to see them tour abroad more – EU and US to widen their reach. Whatever their plan – they need to move forward. They changed and evolved and it’s possible the third record will need to acknowledge that. Like it or not – they are no longer a band from Doncaster. They are not even a band from Manchester anymore. They are now entering national league. Whatever was local and familiar – must now remain in the past.
Welcome to the big unknown. Anything can happen.