New Music – BLEACHED – Can You Deal?


Almost everyone I know who is a big music fan got their start from siblings or parents or friends who introduced them to the bands they love. Not me: I’m an only child, my parents stopped listening to music in 1963, and I have hardly any friends who share the same tastes as I do. Boo hoo right? Poor me. What this means though is that I really search hard for stuff I might like and when I find something I’m usually over the moon about it.

Bleached are a case in point. I stumbled across them about three years ago while disappearing down one of my rabbit hole searches of related artists on Spotify or iTunes. At the time they had released their first album Ride Your Heart, and while it was a little rough around the edges there were a couple of brilliant tracks on it that caught my attention. Last year’s Welcome the Worms built on that significantly and became one of my favourite records of the year. (I have a great two tone vinyl version of it, half black, half white, all brilliant). Part Buzzcocks, part Hole, a little bit of Misfits/Danzig, a smattering of Joan Jett and The Ramones. Other reviews of the band I’ve seen have called them a post-punk Go Gos, and that’s not too far off either.



They’ve recently released a new EP ‘Can You Deal?’ and whilst not quite as strong as Welcome the Worms, it’s an excellent starting point for anyone who hasn’t heard them before. The title track kicks off with a riff that Siouxsie and the Banshees would be proud of, if Siouxsie and the Banshees were on a surfing holiday near Venice Beach. It’s nice and riotous, and highly melodic despite the fuzzy guitar noise. The second song ‘Flipside’ is a bit more controlled, and a bit more 80’s rock sounding. It’s not my favourite by them, but it has some nice vocals and harmonies. ‘Turn to Rage’ though is a bit more like it for me. It has two speeds: fast and punky; slightly slower (and punky). I have no idea what Jennifer Clavin is singing about, but I could hardly care less. It sounds good and I’ll probably learn the lyrics by osmosis and sing along to them anyway. The final track ‘Dear Trouble’ ventures back into Go Go territory, as previously mentioned. It’s a slightly wonky pop song that maybe The Bangles would have recorded on hangover day when they decided they just didn’t care about the charts. There’s some really nice guitar on this, and the drums and bass sound really tight and in sync with each other. In an alternate universe it would be a bigger hit than ‘Manic Monday’. Unfortunately, it’s not an alternate universe. Still good though. Radio One won’t play it, which is arguably all the more reason to listen to it.



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