Bleached - Ride Your Heart

It often feels like whole tracks have been fed through some sort of Instagram filter to achieve the grainy, retro effect.

Label: Dead Oceans

Rating: 6

Bleached is the new project of sisters Jessica and Jennifer Clavin, both former members of the now defunct LA garage punk group Mika Miko.

Compared with their previous band, the Clavins seem to have taken a step back in time. Bleached is full of Ramones and Ronettes influences that make it impossible not to mention similarities in their sound to the Vivian Girls. There are elements of surf rock that give the record a bit more of a California vibe, although often it feels like whole tracks have been fed through some sort of Instagram filter to achieve the grainy, retro effect.

All the anger and taught, spiky energy from Mika Miko has dissipated, so much so that the songs on ‘Ride Your Heart’ could almost be mistaken for the girls’ parodies of poppy love songs. But they do sound like they’re having fun and the tracks are the kind of catchy that lasts for a few seconds until you’re swept along by the next ride.

There are a few nice moments that could have been pared back to an EP. A cool psych sound gives way to punchy guitar jabs at the start of ‘Dead In The Head’ that then burst into a solid melodic chorus. And the lyrics about getting a guy to face up to why his relationship ended are the best on the album. But when the last seconds of the album builds through a noisy crescendo and then just fades out it feels like a lost opportunity. The louder swirls of guitar are great and more touches like that could have helped the band stand apart from the pack.

Perhaps this a record that works better under the summer sun, but right now ‘Ride Your Heart’ doesn’t sound much more than a showcase for surfy style and lo-fi charm.