|Bleu - 'A Watched Pot' (Artist Garage/Fontana)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Tuesday, 01 September 2009 20:03|
I first became aware of Bleu in 2003 while scouring the Not Lame website for new music. Not Lame had released the now scarce Jellyfish ‘Fan Club’ boxset and The Posies ‘At Least At Last’ 4 disc collections of rarities and demos. It seemed a good place to look for something new. Jellyfish had split up, Redd Kross seemed to be on indefinite hiatus, Cheap Trick and The Posies hadn’t released a studio album for 4 or 5 years. Luckily Not Lame had a nice and easy search feature ‘Sounds Like’. So, typing in either Cheap Trick or Jellyfish led me to the same place - an artist that I’d never heard of called Bleu and his album 'Redhead'. All it took was a quick listen to ‘I Won’t Go Hollywood’ to convince me that this was an album I needed to have.
After greedily consuming that album I was like a zombie needing more brains. Scanning his back catalogue yielded up only one further album ‘Headroom’ and that wasn’t even available anymore. So a few bidding wars later on eBay I finally had my complete Bleu collection. A few years went by. Where was the third Bleu album? Was he spending years like a demented Tom Scholz layering guitars and rotating compressor knobs infinitesimal amounts to perfect his next masterwork?
Well…no. Fast forward 6 years to present day and we finally have the third album. And if it was a long wait for me it must’ve been twice as long for Bleu whose record company put the mockers on Bleu’s solo recording career. What could they have been thinking? It’s unthinkable that they would deem his new album ‘A Watched Pot’ uncommercial. You could even say that it’s hyper-commercial since every song on the album could easily find its way onto another artists album as a cover. Two of the tracks already have and I can see more following. Perhaps no one knows what’s going on in the topsy-turvy music business anymore. It took some time but Bleu finally wrangled the rights to release the album himself. And if Irish comedian Frank Carson actually listened to power pop he’d no doubt say: “It’s a cracker!”
‘No Such Thing As Love’ features a rare appearance by Jellyfish’s Andy Sturmer on backing vocals. A bittersweet experience for this Jellyfish fan who would love to see Andy Sturmer release a new record. This time around this track is about the only Jellyfishism that you’ll hear on this album (except for the hidden bonus track). Bleu has moved away from the rockier 'Redhead' and into a slicker sound that embraces rock, soul and blues. ‘Kiss Me’ could’ve been written by Holland-Dozier-Holland while ‘I Won’t Fuck You Over This Time’ could’ve been recorded by Sam Cooke - if sweary soul blues had been allowed that is.
If you check this album out be sure to also check out Bleu’s ‘Four/AWP EP’. There are some great tunes on this 6 track EP some of which arguably should have been on the album. ‘Singing In Tongues’, like a lot of Bleu’s new material is perfectly suited for his patented singalongs where, in the past Bleu forms an impromptu ‘get up choir’ to get up on stage with him. Personal favourite is the thumping ‘Dead In The Morning’ which should be awarded first prize for the ‘Happiest Depressing Song of 2009’.