Finally, The Blinders long-awaited debut album has been released. I present to you, my thoughts on the world of Columbia.
The album kicks off with previously released singles, “Gotta Get Through” and “L’Etat C’est Moi”. “Gotta Get Through” is the most energetic song on the album, making for a high energy introduction to the world of Columbia. It’s driven by Mcgough’s thumping bass, which is echoed by Neale’s drums. “L’Etat C’est Moi” has a similar style, heavily led by bass with a hypnotic riff; the signature makings of a Blinders song.
“Hate Song” has evolved so much since debuting live as “March March March”. Haywood’s raw voice commands us to dance, dance to the hate song. Neale’s infectious drum beat makes it impossible not to obey that command.
My personal favourite track has to be “Where No Man Comes. It has an almost psychedelic intro, Haywood leading with a hypnotic riff, pulling you into a trance throughout. The riff in “Free The Slave” makes reference to the iconic “I Can’t Breathe Blues” riff. This short one and a half minute track is dominated by Haywood’s haunting spoken word, preaching revolution.
As if “ICB Blues” on the Hidden Horror Dance EP wasn’t already perfect, The Blinders somehow managed to blow my mind a second time with the album version of “I Can’t Breath”. It’s somewhat more energetic than the original and has many more layers, such as backing vocals singing the iconic riff. As ever, Mcgough’s bass elevates the track to another level.
“The Ballard of Winston Smith” certainly stands out, with its acoustic intro, forcing you to focus on Haywood’s poetic lyrics. It offers an oasis of calm in the chaotic world of Columbia.
Following straight after it is “Et Tu”, taking us back into the chaos with a fast-paced intro, a tempo kept up for the whole of this short track.
“Brutus” sounds almost exactly as how it’s performed live, emphasising The Blinders ability to put on an incredible gig. They’ve captured the very essence of their energetic performances and stuck it onto the record for our listening pleasure. Haywood’s voice is incredibly passionate on this particular track, transfixing you with words. His screams of ‘They’re gunna build a Berlin Wall’ brings the seven-minute track to a frantic finish.
The Blinders have included their 2017 single, “Brave New World” on the album. This fits in beautifully with the narrative of Columbia, while also making reference to pop culture, such as the Kardashians, bringing a less metaphorical meaning and a more head-on message of revolution.
“Rat in a Cage” references ‘Johnny’, making a direct link to the bands alter ego, Johnny Dream and His Codeine Scene. Following the realism of “Brave New World”, we are taken back into the fictional world of the album. The line ‘the rats are everywhere, brake from your cages’ hammers home the preaching of an uprising.
“Orbit” makes a beautiful closing for the album. The track is piano lead and focuses on Haywood’s calming voice. It completes our insight into the world of Columbia in the best possible way.
It’s impossible to fully appreciate this album in word form and I cannot stress enough how much you have to listen to it for yourself. The Blinders have truly changed the game with Columbia. They’re going to take over the world.
Words by Lottie Catrin.