The Blow

Bonus Album was an unfortunately apt title for the Blow’s 2002 debut. How better to describe what amounted to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hodgepodge of Olympian folk and nursery-school rhyming topped with a listless Wolf Colonel cover? The Concussive Caress finds Blow nucleus Khaela Maricich giving her musical vision more dimension and, thanks to a newfound fascination with jagged keyboards and organs, some welcome edge. A pack of rocketing synths jostles during a sarcastic, feminist homily about “bitches” on a hidden, untitled track that’s the best Julie Ruin song Kathleen Hanna never wrote, and there’s also the beatboxing-as-percussion misogynistic satire of “What Tom Said About Girls.” Elsewhere a record-spanning exchange between a pair of fictional not-quite lovers reveals that P.J. Harvey gets one of them wet (“Come On Pauline [Amy’s Cassette for Pauline]”), and the other likes a searing Suicide note (“Gravity [Pauline’s Response to Amy]”). The combination trumps Limp Bizkit’s “Eat You Alive” as the season’s creepiest stalker soundtrack. Caress isn’t perfect — its bombshells are surrounded by compelling song fragments that are still song fragments — but it feels like a portent of finer Blow to come.

Categories: Music