Friday, April 28, 2006

Full Album Friday 10: Dead Heart Bloom

Casey Dorrell

Dead Heart BloomMost people drift aimlessly through life. Some successfully, some less so, but the meandering luck-driven nature of our lives remains a near-universal. Luck, fate, whatever you put your faith in, it's generally out of our control. Or at least, most of us don't care to do the work required to control it. But there are some, some brave souls who rise above the rest of us, taking ownership of their lives to achieve real greatness. These people are usually single-minded about their goals, driven to the point of compulsion to mold the world to their needs.

Boris is one of these people. Many great men have attempted it before and failed. Most thought it impossible. But Boris has grown the perfect beard. Where those before him failed, Boris refused to give in, refused to accept that creating such impressive facial hair was impossible. And Boris did persevere, growing a beard like no other and then . . . and then what? What to do after you've done the impossible?

Start a band.

Dead Heart Bloom is Boris Skalsky (formerly of the band, Phaser). DHB's self-titled debut is shockingly good. Essentially a one man, one beard, project, he enlisted the help of two drummers, a guitarist, and a string quartet for the recording. The fact that everything else (writing, production, instrumentation) is all done by one person is remarkable, especially considering how many artists it's taken other groups to make less interesting music.

Describing Dead Heart Bloom is tricky, considering Skalsky's apparent reluctance to name off influences and the varied nature of the album's songs. He references artists like Conor Oberst in an interview, but points to the general approach to creating music, rather than the sonic results. The best lazy-journalism comparison one can produce is Beck. Dead Heart Bloom sounds little, if anything like Beck, but both artists manage to produce wildly different songs, while still managing to maintain a general coherence that makes them immediately recognizable.

The word indie-pop is sometimes thrown around in reference to Dead Heart Bloom, but it seems misplaced. Clearly this is, above all else, a perfectly crafted pop album. And, clearly, it's independent and fiercely DIY. But so many of the songs feel larger-than-life, bigger than the intimate twee-tinged sound most associate with indie pop. This is neither a good nor a bad thing. But it is likely to get the band more attention, separating it from the huge sleu of indie bands currently fighting for myspace adoration and major-label interest.

Dead Heat Bloom
A Little Bit of Photoshop Can be a Dangerous Thing . . .

Fans of dischordant feedback and heavy experimentalism will undoubtedly be somewhat bored the very clean album. This isn't necessarily due to an actual lack of experimentation, it's simply that Skalsky seems to have almost too good an ear for pop; he shaves off all the rough edges. Still, while the end product might be a bit too "shiny" for some of you, he does perfect many familiar sounds, making somewhat of an eclectic, albeit slick, masterpiece.

Skalsky has made the entire album available as mp3, free of charge. It's hard to choose which songs to place here, as they're all worth listening to, and little on the album is redundant. I'll be lazy, then, and select the ones he's said best represent the album. If you like them, head over to his site to download the rest of them. If you like it all, buy a copy for your CD collection.

Dead Heart Bloom - I Hope I Stop Fading
Dead Heart Bloom - Saint Henry
Dead Heart Bloom - Letter to the World
Dead Heart Bloom - Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)

Dead Heart Bloom - Dead Heart Bloom

Full Album Friday 9 (Sunday Edition): Emm Gryner Live @ The Point
Full Album Friday 8: Wolf Parade on CBC Radio 3
Full Album Friday 7: Catholic Gaydar
Full Album Friday 6 (Sunday Edition): Hole Unglued, Unbootlegged
Full Album Friday 5 (Monday Edition): Illegal Art
Full Album Friday 4 (Sunday Edition): American Edit
Full Album Friday 3 (Saturday Edition): Thrush Hermit - Nobody Famous
Full Album Friday 2 (Saturday Edition): The 8Bits of Christmas
Full Album Friday 1 (Saturday Edition): Sufjan Christmas

Comments on "Full Album Friday 10: Dead Heart Bloom"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (29/4/06 12:43 pm) : 

Good music sure, but inferior beard


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (24/3/09 5:32 am) : 

Do you know the maple mesos? It is very interesting and if you have enough mesos,you can be strong. So i often go to play the game to get more and more cheap mesos, sometimes i can get the maplestory mesos from my friends who i know in the game. However i like the game very much because of the maple story mesos, i want to play the game more often.


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