REVIEW: Blanche Blanche Blanche – Wink With Both Eyes LP

You’ll hear track one, and you’ll think “what the hell is this,” because that’s exactly what I did, and it’s not going to get any easier. Blanche Blanche Blanche (hereafter BBB (or B^3)) are from Vermont and play synth-pop. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t say ‘pop,’ because it’s definitely not poppy. It’s catchy in a weird, deliberately flat-on-its-face kind of way. Songs are anchored by a tinny, muffled drum-beat, usually built on one measure-long synth loop, and oddly dead-pan vocals. Once in a while, there’s a little couple note synth lick for accent, but for the most part – that’s the BBB Blueprint (or BBBB (or B^4)). It’s got a mechanical feel – I don’t think this was made by humans at all…probably robots.

Once you get over the initial strangeness (I dove headlong into the album) it’s weirdly compelling at times, like on the title track “Wink With Both Eyes,” which features some aggressive instrumental work which is a nice contrast to the general low-energy vibe of the album. At moments it sounds a little like TOTAL CONTROL’s less band-oriented moments, I guess, if I had to put a band to it that’s usual fare for this blog, but really it sounds a lot like a lo-fi FREEZEPOP. I do like the 80’s wood-panelled TV synth aesthetic – this album might give you chillwavey ‘nostalgic images of youth’ or whatever, if the ARIEL PINK thing is your bag. It’s good at times, but really there’s a little too much here. The thing is 16 tracks long, and some of the songs just go on a little too long for me, given how simple the songs are. Really, you’ll know in the first 30 seconds whether you’ll like a song or not – that being said, “Jason’s List” is pretty good. All the songs revel in deadpan strangeness, but some never resolve into something compelling – some feel haphazardly constructed, as though the parts of the song don’t really belong together (Appetite), or just aren’t that enjoyable (Duke on the Beach). Some tracks could honestly pass for David Liebe Hart instrumentals on Tim & Eric – make of that what you will. It’s weird, which is good. Maybe it’s just not my flavor of weird.


Night People Records

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