BREAKING SOUNDS: Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones LP

posted Sunday Oct 28th, 2007

When you close your eyes and think of blues music, most likely the image that come to mind is of an old southern black man with dark, inset eyes, and wrinkles as deep as scars fretting out his woes in 12 bars with thick yam fingers across the comparatively skinny neck of an old Gibson somewhere down in the Delta. That's a shame. As much of the context has changed over the past over the past eighty years (!), the subject matter has not. Exhibit A: Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones, a band of fretful youths from Algoma, Wisconsin who play weird, disjointed songs that are perfectly dark and alienating, and portray a sense of life's evident draining. Self-loathing is a tiresome and noble profession, and when it's wrung out with such affecting vigor it's impossible to ignore. Hue Blanc does it brilliantly on their new LP, Arriere Garde, out now on S S Records. With their style of stream-of-self-consciousness song writing that pounds out songs that have ripened into a crystallized ooze that reveals even more melancholy textures than their last LP on P. Trash Records. They go from waltzing expressions of mistrusted love in a song called “Bloody Nights at the Hotel Bar' that teeters on a feeling of helplessness, to religious doubt in another song called “The First Deification of the Rest of Your Life” where the vocals spill out in a thick, maniacal, but somehow droning hum that pushes you to the edge of some sort of anxious meltdown. Hue Blanc's ability to interweave these feelings of mounting cold sweats, and disquiet with spiraling, often winding songs that build to perfect folds and leave you with a residual feeling of introspection is truly unique. Go here and grab a copy, and in the mean time listen to a track from Arriere Garde on VoT Radio in the top LEFT column.