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Smooth Soothy Sounds

(Too Pure)

I've said it before and I'll go ahead and say it again now; I'm a sucker for nice packaging. blush is just one of those releases that bowl me over with visuals before I've even heard anything off the release. Not only is the typography and layout of the insert very nice, but it's printed on thick semi-transparent paper and the multiple layers of the thing work in a soft, subtle way. But enough about the packaging, since the music on this release is good enough to merit praise even if it weren't benefited with an eye-candy cover.

Take a bit of Massive Attack's Mezzanine, a touch of Lambs self-titled debut release, a sprinkle of Hooverphonics Blue Wonder Power Milk, and perhaps a smidge of Bjorks Homogenic and you're getting close to how this release sounds. There are big orchestral sweeps, breakbeats, downtempo numbers, some soft male vocals and ethereal female ones. It's yet another sexy album in the long line of sexy albums that I've reviewed, but I for one can't seem to get enough of the stuff (even though I have rare ocassion to actually play it for anyone but myself).

The disc starts off with nearly all of the above on the track "Big Wings." With a slower breakbeat in the background, a timpani drum accent, a nice flourish of strings, and even a touch of horns at the end, the track mixes up a lot of different sounds together, but still manages to work. It helps that there are beautiful vocals drifting over the entire thing, though. The second track is one of several short (meaning less than 1.5 minutes) interlude numbers that seem to exist for not much other reason than filler since they don't help to blend the tracks together. Still, they're not disconcerting as a whole, so it's not really a problem. The second track proper is the album-titled "Blush," and it slows things down quite a bit and uses male vocals for a bit of a change of pace.

After another short track, things get stripped down on the amazing "King Deluxe." While somewhat nonsensically titled, the track is driven mainly by a super muffled beat and stringed instruments while those soft female vocals sing in a sultry way. In terms of orchestral-sounding trip-hop tracks, it's one of the best ones that I've ever heard. Things get louder again on the next track "Speed Marina," but just enough to lift you out of the haze produced by the previous track. After another short (and kind of goofy) interlude track, the disc picks up with some harder breakbeats on "Britannica" before drifting off into some laid back numbers again before ending with the slowly-building "Rockets." It's a solid track on the end of a very solid release, and marks the group as yet another one to look out for in the genre. Now, I just need to find a better reason to play it.

Rating: 7.5