BLANKET- ‘Modern Escapism’
If Blanket’s last album was inspired by rays of light and feelings of hope, ‘Modern Escapism’ is, well, it seems like it’s the opposite. This is a dark, intense, and, at times, unforgiving record full of songs inspired by parasitical people, toxic social media, and a city falling into the sea. There is one bright spark though- all the bad news has made Blanket sound better than ever before.
If the quartet were over-enamoured by the post-rock rulebook on their previous album, here they have well and truly let that go. Their proclivity for skyscraping crescendos is still present and correct but their sonic palette has now expanded to include elements of shoegaze, alt-metal, and even blackened intensity. Where they were largely instrumental before, all but one song here has vocals. And to top it all off, this is the best production the band have ever enjoyed too, these tracks sound thick and close and much more befitting their chosen moniker.
New influences and a nice mixing desk can count for nothing without solid songs though, but Blanket have improved there too. Opener ‘White Noise’ is a genuine surprise, a vivid and immediate thrill ride of welcome heaviness and Deftonesian dynamics that sets out the band’s new, dark stall. ‘The Last Days of the Blue Blood Harvest’ begins with an ominous electronic buzz before unfurling into a doomy, gloomy epic, ‘Firmament’ is clean without sounding sterile, and while the calm, breathy vocal style employed throughout suits the predominantly dense, foggy atmospherics, it’s really exciting to hear Gost’s black metal shrieks tear through the shapeshifting ‘Romance’. Ok, so ‘Where the Light Takes Us’ sounds so much like Deftones that Chino and company could probably sue, but really every track does something to turn your head, something to pump your blood.
Still writing in widescreen and sounding cinematic then, but now scoring the kind of soundtrack that sticks with you for ages after the credits roll, Blanket have come up with one of those sequels that’s way better than the original. Brilliant stuff.