It’s no mean feat to retain all the intimacy and rawness of early demos when working with a producer in a kitted out studio, but Pip Blom have smashed it out of the park. Having listened to Pip’s early demos in all their fuzzy DIY glory, I yearned for the debut LP to reflect this journey without glossing over the rough edges through overcooking the tracks with sugary production. I am glad to say that Pip Blom have provided a masterclass in capturing all the energy and excitement of those intimate bedroom demos, and translating it into an accomplished LP that marks their immense progress as musicians.
They’ve brilliantly compressed all their rip-roaring raw live energy into an LP that oozes effortlessness. Yet, behind this demeanour of ‘effortless’, it’s obvious Pip has thought about everything in depth. She’s planned, she’s plotted, and it’s paying off.
Throughout the album, slashing chords buzz deliciously with a generous helping of lo-fi fuzz, while Pip’s vocal ranges from defiant, to melancholic, to angelically seductive, and back again. Her voice is somehow reassuringly familiar. It’s relatable, and, crucially - it has this intimate quality that is not only wholly believable, it’s also endlessly listenable.
‘Daddy Issues’ is, truly, a brilliant opener for the album. Having said that, each song could be an opener, each with their own merits. Pip Blom have fully mastered the knack of brilliantly listenable songwriting. The album meanders like a river to the sea, from the epic opener ‘Daddy Issues’ in all its power-chord glory, to defiantly yearning tracks such as ‘Don’t Make It Difficult’ (“We both desire each other, don’t make it difficult”), to the melodically melancholic ‘Bedhead’. ‘Ruby’ is also a standout track on this record, a tasty slice of post-punk adjacent indie, as is the anthemic ‘Say It’.
Pip Blom have managed to drill down to the very essence of their sound, through years of touring, travelling and experimenting, and this debut is evidence of that. They’ve come out with an album that sets the standard template for the Pip Blom sound, flitting effortlessly from jerky, angsty indie to jangly, sugar sweet indie pop, yet all underneath that reassuring Blom Brand.
What’s the Pip Blom Brand, you ask? It’s that killer combination of fuzzy guitars ringing underneath anthemic choruses, peppered with hooks that’ll make you swoon. It’s as if 70s power chord punk smoked a joint and became a little more mellow, and started hanging out with Manchester Indie. This ‘effortless’ sound comes not only from their individual musicality, but from the loosely played guitar led melodies that give a wholly DIY sound. However, it doesn’t slack or sound amateur: each track is perfectly glued together with the tight drumming courtesy of Gini Cameron, whose live energy is something to behold.
Pip Blom seem to be spearheading this rapidly emerging Dutch scene (or at least the Dutch bands that have made the leap of faith to play venues outside their hometown). Growing up intensely shy, Pip could easily shy away from the limelight. But there must be something inside her that propels her forward - to plug in and give the enraptured audience what they’re waiting for. This sense of urgency and passion is carried through on the record: they’re not doing it for fame, or fortune, they’re doing it for the love of it, because they HAVE to.
Boat is emblematic of this heart-on-your-sleeve, earnest approach to songwriting. This LP comprises a wealth of expertly crafted, anthemic tracks, but don’t mistake them for sugary singalongs - they’ve got a kick!
Boat is released on 31 May 2019 via Heavenly Recordings.