No matter how good the party was – there’s always a morning after. And as there is lots of possible music to accompany the nightlife, there’s got to be some tunes for a decent hangover as well. The new album by the former LA-based band THE BLOOD ARM explores these feelings of waking up in a haze, stubbornly hailing the glowing rests of last night’s infinity. Considering that these are the same folks who once wrote a smash-hit like Suspicious Character, including the everpresent line about the girls and how likeable they are, this is really a remarkable makeover we hear on their fourth full-length Infinite Nights.
There’s a few facts we could speculate about as a reason for that. First of all, parts of the band are now living in Berlin and THE BLOOD ARM wouldn’t be the first band in history for which this city serves as an inspiration for experimenting with new sounds and vibes. Secondly, they decided to finance it via pledgemusic – well, the influence of such a fundraising-approach is something one could possibly argue about for hours. But before all – and now we are in the sphere of mere speculation – maybe they just got sick of their hurray-like indierock that they delivered on Lie Lover Lie or on their latest release Turn And Face Me. It’s a bit cheesy to say so, but yes, this sounds like a record from grown-up party people – and it suits them quite well.
All over the album we hear rather quiet acoustic ballads about how difficult love, how empty the pockets and how great nightlife afterall can be. Written in the tone of a slightly melancholic drunk, the playful piano spreads neat harmonies all over the songs while singer Nathaniel Fregoso surprises with a mix of lonely crooning and the deceitful charme of the Down In Albion-DOHERTY. Nonetheless, besides the reserved parts on Infinite Nights, there is still room for lots of uptempo-moments, though they mostly don’t dress themselves as pretty forward rocking. The clear reminiscences from MAXIMO PARK to FRANZ FERDINAND, like we heard them from these fellows before, dissapear in benefit of some slightly reduced britpop appeal.
Be it the single Midnight Moan, the BEATLE-esque Bubblegum or Sex Fiend – these are the tunes old fans could be longing for, but also the parts, in which some of the old BLOOD ARM-deficencies show up again. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, it’s clever uplifting indie-craftsmanship; but it lacks some songwriting-depth that the quieter parts are able to reveal much better. Certainly, THE BLOOD ARM took a huge and intended step forward with this album, away from their slightly predictable, naive indie-anthems. Should be exciting to see and hear how they develop from here on, for Infinite Nights is as brave as it is serene.