The Blow
Brand New Abyss
(Kanine Records)

The Blow is an electro-pop-punk and alternative performance art duo originating out of Washington and now based in Brooklyn, New York. Khaela Maricich started The Blow in 2003 and would be joined by Melissa Dyne in 2007 after Khaela worked with Jona Bechtolt of Yacht from 2004 to 2007. In 2013, The Blow dropped a reinventive self-titled album, and now, four years later, The Blow release a companion album to The Blow titled, Brand New Abyss. On this new album, The Blow continue to push a new sound and deliver a concentrated, abyss-like sound project, often with a minimal and hypnotic atmosphere composed of experimental analog synthesizers as well as excellent lyrics, vocals, and overall songwriting.

Brand New Abyss is concentrated and focused thanks to crisp, detailed production and hard-thought songwriting. Even with the shared experience between Maricich and Dyne, Brand New Abyss truly feels like a “brand new abyss”. Unless you’re already familiar with the alternative electronic style of The Blow, you’re likely to fall into their blissful and hypnotic abyss of a soundscape. 808 drum production plays a significant role in the overall sound, like the textural 808 bumps on “Dark Cold Magic”, or the heavy 808s that lie beneath high-pitched, soaring synths and sweet lyrics on the song “So There”.

Even the couple of pop-feeling tracks, “The Woman You Want Her To Be” and “Get Up” have impressive lyricism and feature a great interaction between vocals and synthesizers to really showcase the creativity, vision, and experience The Blow brings to the table. Brand New Abyss can be captivatingly hypnotic, like the “get in” refrain as bouncing synths stay ever busy on “The Woman You Want Her To Be” or the synth hook and darkly sweet vocals on “Get Up”, making for two of our favorite songs and also for some of the grooviest moments on the album.

Despite being groovy here and irresistibly hypnotic there, some songs on Brand New Abyss lack a serious driving force. The best example of this is on “Dark Cold Magic”, where despite some great, drawing melodies, the song only feels right to listen to in very select scenarios due to the low key, emotional lyrics and ambient, downtempo production. This outcome is to be expected with the new-electro type sound The Blow is going for and given the overall makeup of the album. Fortunately, the atmosphere The Blow provides in their music almost always replaces the need for a serious driving force.

On Brand New Abyss, The Blow provide an innovative and thought provoking project that continues to reveal colorful new layers with each listen, under the guise of being a minimally produced and easy going album. Sweet vocals and heartfelt lyrics fit perfectly alongside dreamy, mesmerizing and sometimes Tron-like synthesizer production. At times Brand New Abyss lacks the driving power and can drag on if you’re not if the right mood, but makes up for it by rewarding the listener with hidden treats and new sounds as you continue on listening.

Purchase the album here.

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