Crushing Blows—a British noise-pop duo—remains a bit of mystery to me. They sound a little like a lot of bands, but like no one band in particular, so they’re kind of hard to pin down and categorize. They’ve been making music since 2009 so they’re not exactly new on the scene, but as of November 12th they’ve just released their first proper EP: the eponymously-titled Crushing Blows. The EP has four songs, and each song is different, which is why I feel I don’t really know where their sound is coming from right now—or where it’ll be going to. They’re definitely electronica-based pop, but with a bit of punk put in, along with some indie rock influences. There’s a lot going on.
The opening track, “The People You Will Never Meet,” is a mellow, drifting song with lots of guitar reverb and breathy, high-pitched, sometimes incomprehensible vocals. It’s a good song, but I felt like it was constantly of the edge of beginning to build to something more, yet it never did. But the recycling and repetition of its main melody gave it a sort of meditative, distant quality that was quite nice.
“I Dream of Becoming a Girl” is a turnaround—almost like an electro-jig. The song is bouncy but with the same breathy vocals. The third song on the EP, “Love is Dangerous,” is a darker, simpler song, with a distinctive, repetitive chorus consisting entirely of “Love is dangerous, dangerous, dangerous.” It’s lacking on the lyrics, but it works.
The last song, “No Halcyon,” is probably the most conventional and also the strongest on the EP, so much so that it almost sounds like it might be by someone entirely different. Gone are the breathy, falsetto-tinged vocals from the previous three songs. It sounds like a more straightforward indie/pop/synth song with strong lyrics and a good melody. The only downside is that it’s hard to hear how the more conventional “No Halcyon” fits in on this EP with the less conventional previous songs.
All in all, Crushing Blows is a good EP that shows a lot of variety. It’s hard to say where they’ll go from here, though, and what their sound will eventually be on a longer work, but they sound fresh which is far above a whole slew of other modern bands, so they’ve got a good head start.