When we at HN FM last encountered blét, the Lincoln three-piece dream pop band stood six months removed from its spacious, earnest debut album Borrowed From The Breeze and was ready to strike out on the road with it. A mix of charm, emotionalism and atmosphere, that record deployed the band’s instrumental resourcefulness and literary lyricism to create an experience as distinctly wide-open as the Great Plains.
The boys — Joseph Kozol, Cole Keeton and Spencer McCoy — come to us two and a half years later with sophomore album Suddenly Able to See in the Dark, perhaps their strongest batch of songs to date for many reasons. Recorded in Fall 2017 with Jeremy Wurst at Iowa City’s Flat Black Studios and Lincoln’s Hillside Studios, it hits immediately with the band’s beefed-up new sound, a development which owes much to its newest member, drummer Alex Durrant.
Strong throughout the course of blét’s catalogue is a sense of place, this time navigating Greater Nebraska’s rolling hills and two-lane highways as its narrators navigate the twists and turns of personal relationships. Emotional high points, signaled by depthful vocal harmonies, are nailed home by Keeton’s signature blues riffs, pushing through the swirling atmosphere bolstered by McCoy’s sparkling keyboard work. Clever wordplay again nods to their literary proclivities, lending both rhythmic and aesthetic qualities.
But where, as a trio, blét was somewhat reigned in by their inventive percussion style — as in malloting a floor tom with one hand and strumming a guitar with the other — the addition of a dedicated drummer gives them the creative space they always seemed to crave. Durrant is deft, punchy and every bit as resourceful as his bandmates, using electronic elements and the crescendoing builds that form one of the many ties to the band’s previous work.
Now, here’s blét, offering a stripped-down a taste of its new record, with “Wild Animal.”
Hosting, Intro and Interview by Andrew Stellmon
Photo by Andrew Stellmon
Live audio mixing by Brent O’Neill