(mini) Review: Blind Faith and Envy – Into the Calm

We’ve had this EP from Arizona’s Blind Faith and Envy for over two weeks and we’ve been trying to formulate a coherent opinion to little avail. Reviewing EPs can be difficult at the best of times what with short playlists and few overriding themes. In this case the newest work from this duo is neither the awesome electro-pop from their first two albums or the mundane mediorcracy of their last full length album, Media Motel. It’s also a hard review because even after ten (!) full listens we still couldn’t say if we truly enjoy this work or not.

One obvious winner stands out right away. “In a Crash” is a wonderful mid-tempo number that evokes an earlier era (with a lovely, multi-tracked vocals from singer Charlene April sounding bizarrely like Avril Lavigne…), but beyond this sublime track it becomes murkier…It took nearly a dozen listens to begin to appreciate the lush, piano-driven ballad “So Someone I Love Can Fly” with it’s awesome synth strings and classic O.M.D.-style choral effects to close the song out, but it snuck up and can now be appreciated for the pretty, if unchallenging song it is. The rest varies from the pretty-good-pop-tune-with-a-slightly-trite-lyric, “Hold Me Like Ya Mean it” (Hold me like ya mean it/like the world’s gonna end/life won’t last forever boy/We can still be friends) to the just dull “Enemy”.

This isn’t bad stuff at all and it’s a very encouraging improvement on Media Motel. We are starting to sense the direction their next full length album might take, a sprinkle of Evanescence and the use of a lot more piano, a thoughtful balladic approach to balance out the slightly synthpoppier fare, and it could make for a strong direction at that (songs from the Rarities and Remixes album like “And in the Twilight” are also very encouraging and surprisingly solid for tracks that may otherwise be considered throwaway songs). We’ve  been hard on Blind Faith and Envy since the release of their last album but only because we love. Softsynth is a big fan, in fact next to Venus Hum this band may be our second favourite electronic band in the US. But we also acknowledge that they can be erratic and inconsistent. It’s because when they are good they are very very good that we count ourselves big fans still (and we will advocate for this band as we have in the past – google them and two of the top ten references to the band are via this blog), but we will call it when the work doesn’t quite land right. Into the Calm doesn’t land quite right as a whole but it’s closer to the mark. They’ll get there again and we’ll be there to celebrate on the day.

Watch: In a Crash (short clip)

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