Thursday, April 19, 2012

New music: Blondfire

If you're lucky enough to get a job in pop radio or music journalism, you realise very quickly how brutal the record industry is. And the greatest illustration of that comes from the postman.

Every morning, he'll deliver a dozen or more envelopes, crammed with CDs and press releases from bands who will never, ever be heard from again. These are people who have fought their way past thousands of other hopefuls to get a recording contract. They are singers who thought their time had come the moment they signed their lives away on that major label legal document. But, no...

Of those dozen CDs, you're lucky if one ever makes its way onto radio. And that's not always because the other 11 are bad (although some of them are truly shocking). Maybe another artist is doing something similar, but better. Maybe the song is too long or too caustic for daytime playlists. Maybe the CD is by Status Quo. There are dozens of factors.

So it's a nice surprise when a band who have been tantalisingly, achingly close to a breakthrough come back with a new song that fulfills their promise and rescues them from dumperville.

I think Blondfire may have just done that.

Hailing from New York, Blondfire are brother and sister duo Bruce and Erica Driscoll. They used to be called Astaire, until Fred Astaire's widow threatened to sue them. For this reason, they refer to her in interviews as "Skeletor".

When they were Astaire, the band were hovering on the periphery of mainstream success - they had songs on Dawson's Creek and a bunch of Hollywood film soundtracks (L-L-Love, from piss-poor romcom Monster In Law, is particularly catchy). Erica also wrote B.O.Y. for Jessica Simpson, which must have helped pay the rent for a couple of months.

The new material is a huge leap forward. The duo have an instinct for unassailable pop melodies, but they've started throwing in a few curveballs - animal noises; big acoustic drum tracks; wonky guitar riffs. It's quirky and angular without losing sight of the hooks. And it sounds incredibly polished for a young band who self-produce their own material.

Erica lists her current influences as MGMT, The Smiths and The Cardigans. For once, that's not setting up unrealistic expectations. I'd also mention Dragonette and The Bird And The Bee, who share a similarly left-field approach to dreamy pop.

The band's latest song is called Hide And Seek. I think you might like it.

The video for Hide and Seek is due soon... If you're interested in how Blondfire look via the medium of moving image, you should check out the clip for their last single, Where The Kids Are, below.

Blondfire - Where The Kids Are

I sincerely hope it all works out for them this time around. If you want to know more they are on Facebook and Twitter.

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