Everything you may or may not love about elevator music from the 70’s.
Healing Potpourri sounds like a fantastic name for a hippie band and to some extent that is exactly what they are. There is a twist though. When I kicked off my first listen of ‘Blanket of Calm’ I spent the first few songs waiting for the rock to kick in after its 70’s lounge jazz intro. It never did. Instead, Healing Potpourri flirts with the idea that could go rocking at any moment but the music stays firmly in the bossa nova pop space. It may not be my usual jam but the band is certainly talented.
Everything from a bossa nova lounge session is here. The electric piano is sumptuous and glistening. The bass is warm and fuzzy. The guitars are warm and pliable. The drums move between brushed suave charm and a little bit of tabla running. The whole album feels like its a jostick away from setting an inferno alight but that is part of the charm. It is designed to be breezy, laid back, swimmy and fun. Add on to that some of the calmest vocals I’ve heard in indie-pop for a while and you have a great concoction.
I personally found the tracks that move towards a poppier vibe more appealing at first. ‘Think About Us’ could be radio-friendly enough to bring new ears to this style of music. The title track is so hippie-jazz it feels almost satirical. You should best enjoy this track making daisy chains in the meadow. Underlying it all is an expertly woven fabric of instruments though and it is easy to miss this on first listen. So many instruments are being played at once and it switches up each song. Sometimes you have brass, others like the excellent ‘Pieces’ are tuned percussion led. Are they all cheesy as 70’s elevator music? Hell yes! It is still well done though.
After repeat listens I found myself gravitating more to some of the later tracks on the album where the music becomes more instrumental. ‘Dustin’s Rain Tape’ blurs the lines between ambient, lounge jazz and prog-rock expertly and is a creative wonder. Equally ‘La Vida Tranquila’ would sound right at home in The Sims buying mode. Its saxophone solos and jangly guitars evoke exotic dinners, sunshine, abundance and safety.
The Sims buying mode is actually a fantastic description of this album. The vocals even have the occasional shabadoo do them (Camilla) and the whole band imbues this retro-cool style. The tracks need to be paired with all those 1950 stock photos of women baking in full makeup and winking at the camera as if to say ‘I’ve got you covered fam!’. ‘Blanket of Calm’ may be a bit of a hidden gem that is awkward to recommend but a gem it certainly is. It sits outside of my normal music comfort zone and I can still enjoy it. That is the sign of superb musical craftsmanship.
Recommended track: Think About Us
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