I fell in love with Blanket Boys this month, thanks to being assigned to review their album Lake Hope. The two-piece is comprised of guitarist-vocalists Joe Camerlengo and Lisa Brokaw, and with that, I’d really just like to jump in and start talking about this project.
Lake Hope kicks off with the superb “Lost on Me,” which is led by Brokaw’s intoxicating, wistful vocals and mesmerizing picking pattern. This song is definitely a favorite of mine from this project, it is perfect at drawing the listener in and making them feel comfortable. It’s a sweet, warm pop song, but the best I’ve heard something like this done since the passing of Elliott Smith; the song is in the same vein as contemporaries Family of the Year’s “Hero,” but I actually prefer “Lost on Me.”
“Never Know” is another mesmerizing sweet song which again is led by Brokaw’s vocals, but the droning guitar note that begins each verse is really what grabs me each time I listen to it. It’s a simple addition, but adds so much atmosphere to the piece (as well as some tension, musically).
Next follows the titular “Lake Hope,” the first song with drums, as well as the first song led vocally by Camerlengo whose voice sounds like a slightly poppier Sam Beam. I love the tone on the lead guitar on this track, as well as the slightly dissonant and reverb-laden rhythm guitar during the choruses. This song probably has my favorite soundscape of any on the album; I love the distortion and dissonance, and their interplay with the beautiful harmonies and melody on display.
A cover of (funny enough) Elliott Smith’s “Angeles” follows. It’s pretty good, but the only song I really question the inclusion of. It’s a good performance, but doesn’t quite live up to the original song, despite the beauty of Blanket Boys’ arrangement. “Bite” is the final song, and features a return of both the drum kit and Camerlengo’s vocals, and is just as dreamy as one would expect, given the entire rest of the album that preceded this. The passionate, strained falsetto was one amazing addition to this song, especially since that was something I was thinking would sound great just as I was listening to “Lake Hope.”
“Bite” is a sweet and powerful end to the album; I especially am enamored of the way the final line of the song, “there’s no end in sight,” is sung, and the song immediately cuts off there. That’s a great way to finish this powerful dream-pop project. The production was perfect, the performances were emotional, and Blanket Boys really establish a sound for themselves and stick to that sonic palette. I highly recommend checking Lake Hope out.
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