After making their debut in 2010 with “ Touched”, an EP that could have been an album considering its duration, Blondes now present their first LP. It is a record which, to be honest, Zach Steinman and Sam Haar have been delivering in parts over the course of 2011 in the form of limited edition vinyl singles. Because on this “ Blondes”, the only two tracks previously unreleased are the two last ones: “ Gold” and “Amber”. So we could say that, with the release of this double CD, the band want to reach the part of their audience who move around on indie and electronica territories but aren’t in the habit of buying vinyl. And they should. Also, they don't forget to add some extra value by including a disc with remixes of their tracks, by the likes of Andy Stott, John Roberts, Laurel Halo and Teengirl Fantasy, among others.
The LP starts with the very inspired “ Lover” and “ Hater”, and with these two, the way the New Yorkers' sound has evolved over the past year is laid out; departing from the same cosmic coordinates, but getting closer to the dance floor. So, on these first tracks we find some more powerful rhythms, warmer grooves and structures sharper than on any of their previous compositions. In the two following songs (the album, like the singles, is structured according to dual and opposed concepts), “ Business” and “ Pleasure”, we discover another significant twist: their embracement of house in order to stress the danceability of their spiral compositions. They are, without a doubt, the two most dance floor orientated tracks of them all, but at the same time they maintain that spacey spell so typical of the duo - which confirms their unique personality and their savoir faire.
On “ Wine” and “ Water”, we hear the more contemplative and floating Blondes, giving the first one vocals taken from the most nebulous brands of pop and fusing Kraut-rock and almost trance-like synths on the second. Finally, the two previously unreleased compositions show us two faces clearly opposed, not only in title but also in sound; dense techno, gloomy and abrasive on “ Gold”, blurry ambient, whirling and soothing on “A mber”. Looking at it as a whole, the effort is as compact as it is dense, possibly somewhat hard to digest in one, but still confirming that Blondes are one of the great bastions of contemporary cosmic music.
The remix part offers, as is usually the case with these kinds of collections, mixed results. Among the better reworks are the one by John Roberts, more experimental and cerebral than ever, the thickness and mechanical pulse of Andy Stott, the sparkling and colourful reconstruction by Teengirl Fantasy, Laurel Halo's transformation of “ Gold” into a sonic amalgamation of clayey textures, dismembered melodies and a certain air of dub, and the cosmic-pastoral remake by Rene Hell. A special mention must also go to the majestic re-work of “Water” by Bicep. Putting the aforementioned house spirit at the forefront, the Belfast duo deliver a classic and timeless cut that is a true tribute to the mystic power of dance music – by far the best track of the lot.