If “Time Travel,” one of the more delightfully sinister tracks on Blouse's self-titled debut, is to be believed, the band has the ability to fluidly travel between present, past, and future. The album (out now on Captured Tracks), which sounds nostalgic and fresh all at once, confirms this assertion. Charlie Hilton’s lead vocals hover somewhere between Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier and Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, while the melodies she glides over veer from fuzzed-out Depeche Mode to popped-up Suicide. What’s most impressive about the Portland-based band is their ability to pack in so much atmosphere and emotion while always remaining slightly aloof. “They Always Fly Away” is a perfect example: immediately following the muted pulsing of “Time Travel,” the track meanders along with subtle vocals layered over chilly, intriguing synthesizers. Next up, “Into Black” jumps in with surprising New Order-esque guitars, creating a richer sound. The album as a whole allows room for the music to change its mood and mind without feeling scattered. And while the overall mellowness of Blouse doesn’t make for a raucous dance party, it does seem perfect for a cozy winter night in need of a soundtrack.
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