‘Not A Chance‘ is the latest offering by four-piece ‘Blushes‘.
Blushes have stormed across their home county of Buckinghamshire, marking 2017 with their debut EP ‘Private Viewing’ and its sold out release show at the prolific Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes. From the release of the EP, Blushes have personally been asked to appear on platforms such as BBC Introducing and London Live, becoming the most viewed unsigned artist on the latter’s channel.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that ‘Not A Chance‘ comes across to audiences as a departure from the norm for the band as they break-free and look to build on tracks such as ‘Honey‘ and ‘Skin‘. With a change in direction not always being a bad thing, this just goes to support the narrative that Blushes remain a constant, creative and relevant driving force amongst emerging artists in the current industry climate.
The track itself, as previously mentioned, feels as if it is a departure from previous releases. Creatively, trying a new approach is always encouraged by us here at Nexus and we enjoy knowing that artists like to work outside of the box that they have previously built for themselves. And there are unique textures to the latest track that after a few more listens we may be able to click with.
However, what can’t be ignored is that overall, the release feels as if it has less to offer than the likes of ‘Honey‘ and ‘Skin‘. As we say, it is a departure from the norm, but it feels as if it hasn’t taken the best bits of previous successes and built on this, or used them to the best of the band’s abilities.
The mix comes across as if it represents a lack of identity and clarity in places, with various masking issues and a lack of width to the mix which is something that really made all elements stand out and have their own space on previous releases. The arrangement sounds partly spacious and well-balanced in places that have minimal vocals. Yet there’s a directness to the vocals when they are present, which feels as if it takes away from the concept that has been given to the instruments and textures of the track. It feels as if the beat has been mixed separately from the vocals and makes the track a little hard to love.
As an example, in ‘Honey‘ the vocal had a distinct amount of reverb to match the three-dimensional mix where the guitars also felt like they expanded the mix with width. The vocals sat amongst the track perfectly whilst feeling completely in line with the narrative. Very much the same for ‘Skin‘, with the vocals being pushed further into the mix with reverberant tones to compliment textures.
Here though? It feels as if space has been added because that’s a common identifier for Blushes, which isn’t a negative at all. As previously mentioned, we loved previous releases such as ‘To The Bone‘, ‘Honey‘ and ‘Skin‘. But this latest releases just doesn’t stack up against them unfortunately for us. We ask ourselves that a band who has as much previous success as Blushes, is this all that the band offer us going forward?
This should not come across as disheartening. It should come across as encouragement for a band that is looking outside of “their sound”. And I really want to reiterate that point. We aren’t in the business of criticising for criticism’s sake, perhaps we have come to love and support Blushes so much that we really wanted to hear a continued evolution in not just the track but the mixing and the overall sound. Then again, if we were to give you an example of what we wanted to hear? We couldn’t answer that either. But what we can go off of is that when we first got introduced to Blushes they blew us away with their sound, and this has unfortunately fallen a little short.
Mixing is a delicate art and there is a huge amount of respect for people who continue to capture and maintain the attention of an audience through creative processes such as mixing and mastering. With these areas being as important as the capturing of the sound itself in some cases. It is the two areas that finalise your sound, texture and solidify your ideas, gel it all together and set it apart from the next track that’s gunning for a radio slot.
It’s just on this occasion, it feels as if the elements that are present could work together with one another a little better. Perhaps even providing a more decisive direction that really set the trail alight as something new for the four-piece.
Blushes and their fans will have their own opinions surrounding their latest release. And they will undoubtedly look to take what they can from this and move forward to release an even stronger track following this. We can’t wait to see what Blushes do next, and we wait with open ears to grasp that track as the four-piece ignite our imagination once again.