The compositions found on the self-titled debut album from Blondes, a Brooklyn-based electronic duo, conjure up the usual images of weekend-in-the-club revelry. Masses of heavy, sweating bodies are caught in mid-groove by strobe light flashes, and personal space is a thing of the (more sober) past. If this picture seems vague, as though it might be happening at any venue, that’s because it could be. There is no sense of place in this music, and because there are no words, the boundaries blur even more. For bandmates Sam Haar and Zach Steinman, who are just getting started, this is a praiseworthy feat: They have learned to speak the global language of house music. What they have yet to do is the thing that’s immeasurably harder: make it their own.
This debut offering is a two-disc set. The first is simply the album Blondes, by Blondes. These tunes, cleverly named after dualities (“Business” and “Pleasure”, “Water” and “Wine”), are infectious ear candy, so beware. You may press “play” and find yourself still sitting in the same spot an hour later, perplexed and strangely thirsty. While the album’s escapist qualities are undeniable, this is the nature of the beast (the “beast” being electronic dance-pop.) Blondes need to hone themselves—become harder, better, faster, stronger—if they wish to become memorable, to stand out in listeners’ minds as something tangible and unique.
Accompanying the album itself is a companion disc, chock-full of guest remixes of the very same nascent songs that grace Blondes. This is an understandable, but ultimately odd, move. While Blondes tries to gain street cred by collaborating with as many other groups as possible, it gives us little time to digest the album on its own merits. It’s okay to work your way up to the big leagues with time and practice, boys. Teengirl Fantasy (featured in the “Wine” remix) may help you get there, but it’s best to know what you want to say, and who you are, when you arrive.
Essential Tracks: “Pleasure”, “Wine”, and “Wine (Teengirl Fantasy remix)”