Album Review

Blue Bendy - So Medieval

A debut which rewards the time spent with it in spades.

Blue Bendy - So Medieval

Blue Bendy are, perhaps more than most, a band suited to the medium of a long-form project. While 2022 EP ‘Motorbike’ did well to whet appetites, providing a four-track taste of the South London six-piece’s really quite considerable sonic range, it was also – by their own admission – slightly claustrophobic in its glut of ideas. Here, though, they face no such constraints, and the result is an album that revels in its scope. Take the nominally-twinned ‘Darp’ and ‘Darp 2 / Exorcism’: the former an undulating, guitar-led number that progresses with the steady power of a swelling wave; the latter an exponential expansion that sees said wave eventually break into a moving and cathartic crescendo. Elsewhere, ‘The Day I Said You’d Died (He Lives)’ and ‘Come On Baby, Dig!’ have futuristic synth flourishes that tint the tracks with experimental pop colours, while ‘Cloudy’ is a six-minute post-rock romp through twinkling keys, abrasive guitars, and choral backing vocals.

Lyrically, too, there’s a lot to unpack – grandiose motifs of gods and mortals are punctuated with humour and pop culture (‘I’m Sorry I Left Him To Bleed’’s nod to Kendall Roy a particularly choice reference), and Arthur Nolan’s vocal delivery ranges from tongue-in-cheek (‘Sunny’) to disarmingly confessional (‘Mr Bubblegum’ especially is imbued with a similar unembellished anguish to that of ex-Black Country, New Road frontman Isaac Wood). For all its bombast and ambition, there’s also a keen intimacy to ‘So Medieval’ – it is, fundamentally, a bit of a breakup album - and it’s this tonal contrast which keeps the listener on their toes at every turn. Though the record’s sprawling, complex arrangements and unpredictable time signatures don’t exactly lend themselves to singalongs, Blue Bendy’s debut is one which rewards the time spent with it in spades.

Tags: Blue Bendy, Reviews, Album Reviews

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