Album Review – 1971 by Blake (2020) (Self released)


In a recent (un)official survey (that I have just contrived) it was confirmed that 78% of all music recorded during any COVID lockdown period was a) officially pants and b) had a 67% tendency to be self wallowing about just how ‘bad’ the artistes ‘lockdown life’ was, whilst seemingly forgetting the 500K who would never get to have lockdown gripes again.

This is the musical polar opposite of the self wallow. Blake (real name, Julian Pugsley) avoids  a and b spectacularly, simply using his extra lockdown time to provide us lucky listeners with a synopsis of just how slight and perfect so many facets of guitar pop can be.

From the precious acoustics of the 60s strummings of Peter Green to the more traditional guitar-pop inflected modernity of Denied (see below), Daisy Chain and Sing No Sad Songs For Me, Blake provides us with the perfect vehicle just to kick back, put your troubles aside for an hour and just embrace the musically pretty.

Other tenets of the guitar-pop world that are visited revolve around the more twee-pop essence that naturally assumes the listeners god-given ability to see a cardigan as cool. As such, tracks like The Free Life, the true stand out of Whenever and Be Mine take the tried and tested route of a Belle and Sebastian / KiDD aesthetic and daze it with just that extra bit of sunshine.

Of course too much slight can become somewhat trite. Blake recognizes this and courses 1970’s Bolan-esque electricity through tracks such as You Got Me Thinking, Over and Over Again and Reputation. They are poitively glam-rock in comparison to majority of the album, but a welcome reposte to muddy the waters of what would othewise be an overwhelming pretty.

For those loving their jangled guitar-pop melodies simultaneously simple and ornate, then Blake provides definite ticks in both boxes on this beautiful album.

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