Well, I didn’t expect that. When I was told that MJ, from our friends Hookworms, had produced an album with a band from Sheffield called Blessa, I was expecting lead singer Olivia Neller to be a screaming banshee with a Dali nightmare of a band for a backdrop. I am charmingly surprised as Blessa bring out a an educated, gentile touch to the shoegaze revolution with their track Between Times and become our Track Of The Day.
Apparently taking influence more from literature than music they deliver a dreamy, detached version of rock ‘n’ roll with Neller’s beautiful cracking vocals at the forefront of it all. Influenced by O’Hara and Ashbery to name two, Blessa are turning what can sometimes seem a candy floss niche into a well-thought, directive piece of music. Laden with sub-text and drifting guitar the sounds rise and fall like the mist of an over-indulgent opium den.
Released on No Self Records, Between Times feels just that, between times or realities or dimension, I’m not sure I know which anymore, as Blessa have transcended my ears between them so frequently. With this and their other recent release Bloom Neller, Burton, Murray and the Piercy brothers are proving that not everything out of Sheffield is made of cold, hard steel.
Blessa have a distinctly British sound combining Britpop melodies and thrashy riffs with more ethereal, lucid sounds and clinching it (and their Track Of The Day status) with the light and airy vocals of Neller, which cut through the pretence with something undeniably soft and fragile. Blessa have the ability, based on this release, with their smooth sound, pop sensibilities and increasing lyrical power to tantalise ears and ease comedowns for years to come.