Review: Night School-Blush

Headed by ex-Whirr singer, Lexy Morte, Night School offer a more upbeat take on the shoegaze sound of her previous band with their debut album, Blush. Clearly inspired by contemporary California dream-pop bands like Wavves and Best Coast, the group offer a wide variety of fuzz-soaked songs obviously aimed at a summer audience.

The barely half hour album begins with ‘These Times’, a strong upbeat opening track bearing more than a passing resemblance to the 4AD female-led indie bands of the ‘90s, such as Belly. The catchy opener is followed by the tracks ‘Last Disaster’, ‘Casanova’ and ‘City Kiss’, which are more melancholic offerings- and, sadly, all blur in to one another slightly.

The limited focus of the bands shoegaze-lite sound is apparent as the bright guitar melodies with heavy reverb and fuzzy rhythm become nauseatingly ubiquitous. Additionally, the simple lyrics and songwriting do little to remedy this. Fortunately, however, the album picks up with the great ‘Misty and Blue’, an ethereal 4 minutes of slower tempo and traditional dream-pop sounds, which wouldn’t seem out of place on an early Mazzy Star or Cocteau Twins album.

The latter half of Blush is where the group finally manage to truly show their breadth, going from the delirious ‘Hypnotized’, to the (mostly) acoustic ‘Teen Feelings’, and then on to the highly energetic ‘Lost’ in 3 tracks. With these tracks, the group begins to create a wider variety of moods using the same elements of fuzz, reverb and simplistic drumming that made the earlier tracks seem homogeneous.

The pop sensibilities of the band mean there is no real musical depth or innovation-but the group oozes charm with their simple ‘60s throwback lyrics, referring to love interests as ‘Darling’ and talking of ‘Holding your hand’. The use of this technique gives the album a sentimental appeal for fans of the bubblegum and sunshine aesthetics of early pop.

Finally, the anomalous instrumental piano piece ‘Pink’ closes out the record, an unfortunately short track with an arpeggiated rhythm which seems an unusually grandiose end to a light-hearted, fairly scattered album. Whilst Blush lacks true cohesiveness, it is a great collection of pop songs with a few weak links that allow the band to stand out from their more experimental contemporaries, albeit in a fairly safe manner.

Max Smith

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