Mixing a funky beat with a heavy rhythm, Baleen start their new release Follow Me Blind with the haunting "Solidify". Right from the start we get the feeling that this is going to be a brooding CD that may challenge the listener with unique sequences and ideas. Baleen is not shy about layering the vocals one over the top of the other, and with the droning bass of Steve McMillan, the band builds soundscapes that are rich and dark at the same time.
"Magnifico (The Mule)" adds a subdued sax line to the mix that doesn't do much to liven things up. "Back In 15 minutes" reminds me of a Specimen 37 song with it's slow but continuous rhythm section and with sax running a counter melody line. "Sold" and "Faceless" have interesting bass lines that anchor the song and keep everything memorable, but neither song really ever picks up enough speed to get you tapping a foot. The highlight for me was the most experimental of the songs, "Waiting For The Punch Line" which mixes some samples with pointed lyrics and a nice driving drum beat. The layered vocals again mold the song around the ever building instrumentation.
Baleen play reserved, brooding music. It is easy to confuse that with boring, but that is not so. The vocals and instrumentation are interesting enough to keep your attention, it is just that they are applied judiciously. There is an element of minimalism in this music. Follow Me Blind is a nice, if not spectacular release from a band that I predict will continue to grow and find their collective "voice".
2. Magnifico (The Mule)
6. 6:30 am
7. Back In 15 Min.
8. Waiting For The Punch Line
9. Vitamin C
10. Take A Number