Born Blonde
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Born Blonde

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Band Alternative Rock

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"Born Blonde / Shepherds Bar"

Trawling through all the articles about Born Blonde out there on the internet, it’s fun to guess how many words will go by in each before the Verve are mentioned. In this case, the answer is 26. To be sure, the shadow of Richard Ascroft’s Wigan five-piece looms large over this London quintet, to the point that they even enlisted the help of Verve producer Owen Morris for their own recordings. Yet Born Blonde –whose members all appear to be decidedly non-blonde, by the way - also owe not inconsiderable debts to Doves, Ride and probably half the mid-eighties 4AD label roster, too.

All of these influences coalesce into a rather ethereal, spacey brand of rock that’s really best experienced live. In fact, after seeing them perform, it’s all the more apparent that Born Blonde’s recorded output so far doesn’t quite do justice to the grandiosity of their songs, coming over surprisingly flat (although with an album apparently due out later in the year, the band will hopefully beef up their sound).

As a live act, though, Born Blonde are an exciting proposition. Beginning their tight, six-song set bathed in an appropriately moody palette of blue-hued lights, frontman Arthur Delaney and his fellow non-blondes go on to deliver much more muscular renditions of songs like Radio Bliss, Solar and recent single I Just Wanna Be. Delaney in particular excels; his soaring, pitch-perfect vocals lending a real sense of scale to the proceedings. The rhythm section of George Day (drums) and Joshua Lloyd-Watson (bass) also benefit immensely from the live setting. - ArtRocker


"LIVE REVIEW: BORN BLONDE AT THE SHACKLEWELL ARMS"

Ready? Okay. 1992 was twenty years ago, and The Shacklewell Arms (like some remaining parts of New York City) seems to be forever lodged in the early 90s. For many of us in the crowd that’s the pitch-perfect time for nostalgia in our own lifetime. Too young to remember the scene itself, we lived through it semi-aware, and now we Instagram pictures of ourselves in a modern version of the 90s that’s a little less push-button.

In this setting, the 90s’ influences on Born Blonde and their support bands – Sulk and Vices – is visible only briefly, before merging into the surroundings of the venue and the common style of Dalston’s crowd. After a little while spent breathing in fumes from two decades of condensed nostalgia, we acclimatise. And by the time Born Blonde take the stage for a giddy set in honour of the release of their latest single we’re convinced, and couldn’t care less, that we’re in a time bubble.

The band has a big set-up, and they slot into the Shacklewell’s ‘fantasy castle’ stage as though they’re setting up an unwilling defense of their realm. Within Born Blonde there are clearly defined roles, following the now established plot of: bold and silent lead guitarist, invisible drummer, nerdish keyboard talent, and coy, skinny frontman. Three tracks in, and the frontman is sweating and moving like a young Damon Albarn minus the mockney accent. The Coxon weirdness is absent too – Fraser MacColl (Born Blonde’s guitarist) can really play, and shows it when he’s given the chance to unleash. Functioning as a complete unit, it’s the band’s sound as a whole that recalls the 90s vision of psychedelia. They’re relaxed but inherently cohesive, their sound crafted and practiced to perfection. The neat thing about the 90s sound was that it would always divert away from sounding too polished, and Born Blonde have nailed this too, hitting a stride when they plunge into their third track, previous single Radio Bliss.

These guys are not a band that can make a crowd move. Their smooth, easy noise is too nice, maybe too unchallenging, only slightly playful. But from the thick air in the venue, Born Blonde could move a crowd, emotionally, if not physically. Maybe those present were fans already, maybe there were new converts in there too, but we can bet you that when each one of them stepped out of the venue, they all felt the same thing. A brief moment of ‘when am I?’ – a few seconds lost in time. This would be Born Blonde’s ability for absorption coming into fruition. In the same way they soaked up what made music work two decades ago, during their single launch they soaked up their crowd. - artwednesday.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

For centuries, men have turned to the stark, desolate environment of the desert to search for meaning, truth and clarity. Truth and clarity can be hard to come by in a world where the charts are a sonic desert of landfill pop and throwaway R'n'B.

New bands are forced to define themselves through their influences. Born Blonde's debut album ‘What The Desert Taught You’, released on November 26th, would be easy to describe in a list of great bands, but it would only tell a small part of the story.

Growing up in the decades of marketing made music, West London’s Born Blonde have come a long way since their formation in 2009 when Arthur Delaney enlisted Fraser and George as musicians for a solo folk music project. Schoolmates Josh and Tom were next to join. And so the band, although not exactly blonde, was born.

British pop music has been handed a lifeline, albeit from some faraway place that we can't quite see through the blizzard of buffeting guitars and distant, soaring vocals. Recorded with Simon ‘Barny’ Barnicott (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian), ‘What The Desert Taught You’ imparts a sublime sense of disorientation; a sense that you don't want to recover from, but at the same time you want to recover from it so you can get on with the serious business of getting lost again.

To use the word 'epic' would be both a cliché, and an understatement. There isn't a screen silver enough for the shimmering Born Blonde sound. Theirs is a soundscape of spectral beauty and crystaline structures, and one that answers the question of what would happen if the shoegazers had looked up once in a while and remembered what it was like to enjoy yourself.

Born Blonde live are pure emotion, a visual, multi-auditory extravaganza where chemical siblings meet bloody valentines in a ceremony watched over by Oldfield, Shields, Ashcroft and Chadwick. They're a combination of 60s psychedelia, blues and folk and late 80s/early 90s shoegaze, but all directed through a 21st century prism.

The business of music can be cold and hard and horrible but the music itself is a spiritual experience. It’s a place to retreat to – a place where everything makes sense where sound can be perceived in varying colours. Born Blonde can teach you about hedonism for the senses. ‘What the Desert Can Teach You’ is how you get there.