Du Blonde: Homecoming
Released 2nd April 2021
Impulsive and melody-driven record from an epatage-loving artist.
Just as its Day-Glo cover suggests, Homecoming gives a way out to extreme emotional states triggered by vulnerability. Written between Los Angeles and London, ten sharply short songs emerged as a therapeutic response to the flip-flopping of an anxious mind.
With an intro bringing up Where Is My Mind? by Pixies, the flanger-coated Medicated pushes buttons to turn on a mode of teenage euphoria, at least musically. The vocal contribution of Shirley Manson enhances flashbacks of blurry clips from MTV of the 90s. The troubled lyrical hero elaborates on anxiety-related problems: I’m a medicated brainchild / And I’m praying for my own reform / But until I get my head screwed / I’ll keep on swallowing this thunderstorm.
During her fifteen-year career, Beth Jeans Houghton, aka Du Blonde, has surprised the audience with numerous transformations. Starting her journey as a folk-inclined clad in a 60s outfit singer-songwriter, she later moved on to Du Blonde, the solo project revealing the artist’s rebellious side. Although glam-punk aesthetics still echo on the new LP, this record is again an unintentional step aside from the marked course. These songs, of experience if not innocence, draw on influences during Houghton’s formative years at the beginning of her creative career. Homecoming communicates the necessity to embrace one’s younger self and recall things that have shaped his or her personality.
Names of contributors on this record fairly fit the concept – Ezra Furman, Andy Bell, Shirley Manson and The Farting Suffragettes. The presence of Furman contributing vocals on I’m Glad That We Broke Up celebrates otherness. The cartoon-ish music video is a gender-bending fanfare presenting Furman and Houghton in their habitual maverick roles.
Still, with the poppier vibes, Houghton stays true to her garage and glam-punk oeuvre. Thus, from the start to the final ballad-esque Take Me Away, Homecoming feels like a roller-coaster experience. Excellent melody-driven Pull the Plug boosts the adventurous feel and eager wish to reconcile with teenage habits, e.g. smoking bad-quality cigarettes. Infused with rockabilly harmonies, Smoking Me Out tackles the subject figuratively.
Homecoming can be pre-ordered here.
All words by Irina Shtreis. More writing by Irina can be found in her author’s archive.