Blanket pretty much exploded onto the alt-rock scene at the start of last year with their debut EP ‘Our Brief Encounters‘. The Blackpool based outfit are made up of four musicians who had been playing in bands of varying styles for years, finally combining forces for their most ambitious project. To be fair, Blanket have not fucked around since their formation. Last year saw the quartet tour hard in support of the EP, ink a deal with Music For Nations and finish work on this here debut full length.
‘How To Let Go‘ is an album that tugs at your heart strings from the word go. Its title track opens up with a sky scraping piece of post-rock; dramatic piano chords and soaring guitar work fill up your ears, sounding like the musical equivalent of standing at the edge of the biggest mountain with your arms aloft. It’s that sense of euphoria that runs through the record, coupled with theatrical twists and shimmering melodic motifs that pack an emotional punch. If you enjoy the orchestral like majesty of Maybeshewill or possibly the more considered, electronic pulse of later day 65daysofstatic, you’ll get a real buzz from this.
There’s quite a few reference points on this album I’ve picked up on, but it’s when Blanket start combining sounds together that this piece really starts to shine. ‘Worlds Collide‘ brings vocoders into the mix for some purely stunning harmonic results, ‘This Moment Right Here‘ really lets rip with more building vocal work punctuated by a colossal riff, while ‘Let The Sleepers Awake‘ starts with a melodic hardcore inspired melody. It’s these little glimpses into different sonic pallets that keeps it varied and interesting.
Probably the most striking moment in the tracklist is penultimate track ‘A Sky Filled With Ghosts’. It’s reminiscent of alt-rock weirdos Mew in places, especially in the sweet falsetto vocal delivery, while its instrumental flickers from subtly textured indie-rock to hard hitting alt-rock. But it’s the return of the vocoded vocals that make for an extremely climatic conclusion that is nothing short of hair raising. I remember seeing the band play this live last year and was hoping that it would sound just as eventful as I remembered.
Many have called Blanket a cinematic rock act and you can clearly tell that a lot of these songs have been composed with either imagery in mind or inspired by film. I think that’s part of its charm, it’s a very widescreen sounding piece and each track paints a vivid picture. I read that the band formed ideas for the album by jamming in their home conservatory, inspired by watching life go by, concentrating on the skyline. It’s that visual that sells this album to me – it might not have the most original sound, but feelings of ambition and emotion flow thick and fast through it.
The stronger moments on ‘How To Let Go’ come from when Blanket are either rocking out or letting the vocals come through, but I do think they tend to let the post-rock rule book get in the way at times. However, in the same breath, it’s the restraint into these neat little alt-rock nudges coupled with truly stunning production that makes for a genuinely compelling and effective debut.