Label: Saddle Creek
Icky Blossoms is the recent indie sensation to come from Nebraska, the trio compromising of Sarah Bohling, Derek Pressnall and Nik Fackler – all of whom have come from different bands and backgrounds. While it seems very confusing of what exactly each member’s role is (apart from Sarah and Derek both taking up vocals), the band seem to rely on the chilled approach to electronic pop, with a small witch house influence.
This album, from the start, definitely shows signs of being a Marmite situation for listeners – you’ll either love it or hate it. The synth-laden tracks with regular shoegaze influences (especially with the vocals) will either be the fitting album of the year for some people, or a patience-testing ordeal. For the most part, this reviewer finds it the latter. If there ever was a soundtrack for the teenager who boasts about smoking cannabis, wears lens-less glasses and the baggiest cardigan they can find – this is it.
Opening track Heat Lightning has this very morose feel yet the layers of synths really combine well to make an infectious and thriving vibe, starting the album at a great place. However by the third track this is lost: Sex To The Devil attempts edgy lines like “Church to God / God to the universe / The universe to art / Art to drugs / Drugs to sex / Sex to the devil” in a monotone delivery, over a pretty basic dance beat and sleazy synths that really do nothing but highlight the obnoxiousness of the lyrics… which are just cringeworthy alone.
Then Babes subjects you to the repetition of the word more than anyone should have to endure, ever, and again in the almost ridiculously exaggerated monotone vocals. The opening lines are also stupefying: “I saw there / In the rain / In a leather jacket / A killer babe / I told her so / Said don’t you know / We’re the same / I’m a killer babe”. Really? If you raised an eyebrow at that, then you don’t want to hear the rest…
However, there are tracks that avoid that. Deep In The Thrines has a pretty catchy beat, and Sarah actually brings back some variation and life to her vocals which is a refreshing change from the previous few tracks, and the single Perfect Vision just has this simplistic and lethargic mood that injects vibrant memories of carefree times, especially with the heavy reverb on the vocals and instrumentation.
So, although two or three songs are pretty decent and have a broad appeal, the album as a whole feels a chore to get through without rolling your eyes. It’s dire obnoxious sleaze, swinging its arms on an empty dancefloor while staring into space – it might appear attractive in that glazed-over fashion, but the appeal dies once you realise there really isn’t that much thought behind it.
Favourite tracks: Perfect Vision, Heat Lightning, Deep In The Thries.