Saturday, March 22, 2014
Young Heart (Blondfire, 2014)
Blondfire's second LP, its first in six years, Young Heart offers seven tracks' worth of new material. After a blithe opening number in the laid-back "Young Heart," the album is front-loaded with the entirety of last year's four-track Where the Kids Are EP, while track 10, the serenely stirring "Life of the Party," previously appeared on the soundtrack for Dallas Buyers Club (2013). I thought the Where the Kids Are EP was excellent, and, although the amount of recycled content on Young Heart may be a tad disappointing to any fans who have already exhausted the old songs, what new stuff the LP adds is very much appreciated. And, for anyone not yet acquainted with Blondfire's offerings over the last two years, Young Heart is a substantial and thoroughly enjoyable indie pop record well worthy of a listen.
The combination of Erica Driscoll's voice, tender if almost too mellow, together with brother Bruce Driscoll's slick production, creates Blondfire's ethereal yet propulsive sound, while catchy melodies and buoyant lyrics arrest listeners into a daydream that is reflective in an uplifting way—the perfect soundtrack to lighten one's mood through an overlong summer. In the fresher middle section of the album, the synth is markedly less bombastic than on Where the Kids Are. The pulsing bassline of "Dear In Your Headlights" and the surging guitarwork in "Kites," along with Erica Driscoll's most spirited vocal performances on the album, make for irresistibly sunny jams that you can legitimately bob your head to. "We Are One" is another highlight, a more downtempo yet rousing anthem. The other tracks too are pleasant, with the sweetly understated "The Only Ones" closing things on the perfect note.
Blondfire will be playing in San Diego again this Tuesday night, March 25, 2014, at the House of Blues, opening for Swedish indie rock band The Sounds during their North American tour.