Blunda’s “Messages” EP is a great showcase of how to do pop rock in a stylised way. There’s an 80’s vibe that comes from the strong bass lines and picking of the electric guitar whilst the keyboards are always there in the background to provide a soundscape of their own.
Opener “A Broken Case” is an instrumental for the first half that showcases all of this with a nod to all things 80’s. There’s even cheesy tom drums for good effect. When Blunda’s vocals join in though, his weathered and slightly lethargic tone brings down the brightness of the instruments around him much in a the way many new romantics bands do. It’s an unusual track structure too – for it never revisits the same part of the song again despite weaving around the same two chords. “If You Want Me” has a dirty synth pop vibe to it as the muted dance vibe is kept down low like a Soft Cell track and even the percussion features a hushed breath. Blunda’s voice stays firmly in the high register as it’s almost like a siren calling through the filth. It’s not an instant hook that you can sing along to, but actually it’s really catchy and can be one of those tracks you’ve got on repeat without knowing it. “Messages” continues with the 80’s vibe with some lovely open guitar work that is funky yet well structured. The chorus is an interesting merge of dreamy piano fills and spacious keyboard synth pads whilst play against the guitar solo perfectly. The production values are top-notch on this EP. “Devil Inside” is the darker track on the EP and is possibly my favourite. The way the vocals don’t over do the drama that’s been crated by the melodies of guitars and piano. The closing track “The Money Side” is the ballad of the release with sumptuous rolling drums and music box styled keyboard melodies. It also features Blunda singing in different pitches with himself and it’s warmth really shines through what is a quietly optimistic track in places.
Blunda’s second EP continues to show what a great talent he his. There are no blunders here at all – this is a top class release and HPM can’t wait for the first album!