Blanche Blanche Blanche recorded their 2012 breakout, Wink With Both Eyes, on the same Yamaha MT8X eight-track that Ariel Pink used to record the first Haunted Graffiti album. Their music sounds almost nothing alike, but their songs share the kind of deliberate overwroughtness that may be the 2000s equivalent of the “too many notes” critique that Emperor Joseph II levels against Mozart in the movie Amadeus. With an onslaught of melodies, counter-melodies, steam-of-consciousness-style, psycho-confessional musings and random time and key changes, the music of Vermont’s Zach Phillips and Sarah Smith is the sort that is best listened to “sideways”—you can’t hold onto any of its elements for very long, so you quit trying to and start enjoying it for its babbling flow, as one might enjoy listening to the sounds of different stations wafting in and out over a spotty radio connection. And like Pink’s early material, Blanche Blanche Blanche’s sounds like it’d be nearly impossible to play live, but where the former “matured” in the direction of a simpler, more overtly hummable aesthetic, these guys just kind of polished up their production values.
Wooden Ball, which is out today on NNA tapes, mostly forgoes the scuffy sonics and nursery school keyboards of its predecessor in favor of an almost snidely “contemporary” palette of digital synths and drum patterns. The irony is that rather than making their effortlessly changing, abruptly ending, mini-prog epics easier on the ears, the higher resolution just makes everything sound even more insane.
Stream: Blanche Blanche Blanche’s Wooden Ball LP