Bleached – Ride Your Heart Bleached – Ride Your Heart

Bleached - Ride Your Heart (2013)

Bleached – Ride Your Heart (2013)

Formerly of L.A. punk band Mika Miko, Jessica and Jennifer Clavin now make up the beating heart of Bleached; a surf-punk garage-rock outfit whose calling cards are lovelorn lyrics, three-chord riffs and 60s vocal harmonies. No bad thing in itself, one might surmise. And yet, with plenty of young blood around recalling the spirit of bands like the Ramones (and, what’s more, plenty of female ones too – see: Vivian Girls, Pins), there ends up being precious little to distinguish Ride Your Heart from the chasing pack.

What might actually work in Bleached’s favour as regards Ride Your Heart is the uber simplistic nature of the songwriting throughout – whether it’s actually meant to be received as a timeless mission statement, or whether lyrics such as “I’m gonna ride your heart” (the title track) or “Baby don’t cry/baby don’t cry” (‘Dreaming Without You’s joyless refrain) point towards a self-awareness of the fact that all Ride Your Heart is aiming to be is a solid road trip record is up for debate. Indeed, on several numbers where things are kept toe-tappingly brief and to the point, Ride Your Heart begins to shine. Opener ‘Looking For A Fight’ rumbles to life with a brash swagger, its surf-rock riff proving to be one of the more compelling moments on the LP, whilst the urgent ‘Next Stop’ practically sounds like it’s speeding off down the highway as it plays. ‘Outta My Mind,’ meanwhile, is one of the few instances of where the band’s lyrics manage to walk the fine line between simplistic brilliance and cliché, “Get out of my mind, boy/ you know I think about you all the time.”

Regrettably, however, many of Bleached’s lyrics come across as poor imitations of fellow L.A. surf band Best Coast. And, to be blunt, the sisters Clavin do not pull off the paranoid-neurotic girlfriend schtick anywhere near as well as Bethany Cosentino, too often resorting to well-worn lovesick imagery, “I keep waiting for you to call/I keep waiting for you, my dear” on ‘Waiting by the Telephone’; whilst “Boy, don’t tell me I’m crazy/Boy, don’t tell me I’m crazy” on ‘Searching Through The Past’ could conceivably be a Best Coast lyric.

Ultimately though, Ride Your Heart‘s flaws don’t lie in the fact that it isn’t a Best Coast album – they lie in the fact that what should have been a simplistic and straightforward formula has been cluttered with needless, generic lyrics about love and longing and at times, uninspiring songwriting. On many occasions, a catchy hook will be undermined by a cringe-worthy lyric; at others a decent lyric will be let down by rather lazy surf-rock progressions. It’s a shame, because there is a genuine spirit of punk etched throughout Ride Your Heart – but the results are anything but revolutionary.

Ride Your Heart Tracklist:

01 – Looking for a Fight
02 – Next Stop
03 – Outta My Mind
04 – Dead in Your Head
05 – Dreaming Without You
06 – Waiting By the Telephone
07 – Love Spells
08 – Searching Through the Past
09 – Ride Your Heart
10 – Dead Boy
11 – Guy Like You
12 – When I Was Yours

Bleached - Ride Your Heart, reviewed by Lemon on 2013-07-15T06:09:05-07:00 rating 2.8 out of 5

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