TOTT #9: BLESSA
The eighties; a decade that just keeps on giving. From the grungy fuzz of Seattle (Bleach-era Nirvana) to the rain-soaked melancholy of Manchester (The Smiths), to the sun-kissed arpeggios of Los Angeles (The Bangles), eighties guitar music casts a long shadow over today’s musicians. A mainstream dominated by New Wave, New Romanticism and Stock, Aiken & Waterman has largely been forgotten in favour of indie bands that rarely made an impact outside the alternative press. The poppy trash that dominated Top Of The Pops has been replaced in our collective musical consciousness with the visionary sounds of goth, grunge, alt-rock and shoegaze.
A band we tipped back in February, Sheffield-based five-piece Blessa are firmly rooted in the mid-eighties leftfield. Echoing The Primitives‘ storming indie-pop anthem ‘Crash’, recent track ‘Between Times’ is a chiming throwback to an era when chorus pedals ruled the alternative airwaves. Like an outtake from a classic Peel Session, it’s laden with riffs that would make even The Cure‘s Robert Smith smile. Big, bold indie-pop that oozes lo-fi cool, it’s as if My Bloody Valentine had suddenly got a taste for writing hit singles.
Describing themselves as “spanning outwards from tighter, more claustrophobic structures into a vastness that allows a vocal to pervade the wall of sound,” Blessa build on Johnny Marr’s bedsit-Spector production style to create swathes of cinematic indie. Walls of jangling guitars replace Arctic Monkeys-esque indie-rock as the band forge a brighter, more intense sound for their adopted hometown. Heading into the studio to record their debut album next spring, in 2014 the time is theirs for the taking.
Words by Toby Rogers
Originally posted on The Tipping Point on February 18th
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