Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath by The BlindersRelease date: July 17, 2020
Label: Modern Sky UK
I have come a bit late to Doncaster’s The Blinders, though aware of the praise generated by those who heard their 2018 debut Columbia. Attention eventually sank in when I noticed they have supported Idles so what’s a better way to get to know a band more by reviewing one of their albums. And so here I am listening to their second album without having heard their debut, so this review won’t be making any comparisons between the two. What I do know is I will be checking-out their first album because Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath impresses.
The first couple of plays of the album I spent nearly driving myself crazy trying to pinpoint who do they remind me of the most. A band from twenty years ago I am now struggling to remember? Maybe, but I then ditched that notion and just accept that they have squeezed themselves into a style reminiscent of others but crafted with their own nuances and identity. I suppose the band they most resemble is fellow Yorkshiremen the Arctic Monkeys with smatterings of Fontaines DC, Art Brut, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Idles, but never sounding like any of them completely and for any real length of time. In other words, they’ve expertly crafted their sound into a file under category, but remain distinctively The Blinders.
And they do this by possessing a smart art punk pop sensibility, who can harness their keen eye on sharp melodies with tight arrangements, and with an intelligent punk poet lyrical bite. And like all the afore-mentioned artists, The Blinders deliver with an extremely impressive confidence. The opening brooding warning of ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ has an equal measure of melody and intriguing menace. The blistering ‘Forty Days & Forty Nights’ and the twangy hypnotic guitar in ‘Lunatic(With A Loaded Gun)’ is led by Thomas Haywood’s vocals with all the relevant urgency a song should have when it’s about the dangers of a maniacal world leader – no prizes for guessing who – ‘’There are children in cages on Monday’s front pages, this is no history book, this is no play, this is a lunatic with a loaded gun.’’
They do possess song-writing variation and slow things down adding acoustic strum in ‘Circle Song’, and especially in the Bob Dylan evoking ‘In This Decade’. While there is plenty of space for rumbling bass in ‘Rage At The Dying Of The Light’ as guitarist Thomas Haywood shows his dexterity and stylistic variations across the song. They go all dark Joy Division bleakness in ‘Black Glass’ which builds in momentum and leads to what they do rather good, and that is the band raging in full tilt mode.
Hopefully one day the band will be-able to take this album out on the road because my impression many of the songs will hit home even harder in a live setting. That is to take nothing away from the album or indeed the fine production by Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi). Oh, the irony that Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath will also sound great live but these songs scream out to be played in a sweaty club. The Blinders second album I’m sure will further build on the achievements of their debut album.