Blaue Blume (Denmark) – Crush (single)
I’ve known for a while of Blaue Blume (Mr Google offers ‘Blue Flower’, seems logical enough) because they’re on the HFN label in Hamburg, home to the likes of Frum, between mermaids and me, Jacob Bellens, Kasper Bjørke, Trentemøller and Lydmor; all of whom have featured in NMC and all of whom are ‘quality’ as the soccer pundits say.
Strangely, I’ve never reviewed them though. Time to put that right.
Their PR says Blaue Blume “could be called the successors of New Romanticism, which was born in Great Britain 35 years ago as a reaction to the insolent and vulgarly simple punk music”, which is correct. (But overlooking the fact that punk killed prog rock before that and that the New Romantics helped redress the balance somewhat with a return to complexity, intricacy and ambivalence, courtesy of the likes of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet).
(And personally I’d put ABC above all of them but that’s another story.)
It then goes on to say that “the delicate and vibrant music of Blaue Blume echoes the best British bands of the 1980s: from Talk Talk, The Smiths and Cocteau Twins. The astonishing androgynous falsetto of the band’s front man Jonas Smith has been compared to the voice of Antony Hegarty (now ANOHNI of course), previously of Antony and the Johnsons.”
There are a lot of reference points to absorb there, from New Romanticism to the post-punk Mancness of The Smiths to the dream pop of Cocteau Twins to the art pop of ANOHNI.
So where do Blaue Blume fit into all of this? Not really anywhere as I see it. Firstly I’d marginally identify ‘Crush’ as rock over pop, from the opening seconds where it sounds like they’ve been accidentally recorded tuning up (badly) to the rather frenetically stimulating ending.
Having said that, in a way they remind me more of Norway’s pop-punkers Sløtface than any of the other bands previously mentioned, in the incessant metronomic drum/bass beat that’s there from beginning to end and in the powerful jangly outro.
And despite the lack of a compelling hook there’s melody a-plenty throughout.
As for singer Jonas Smith’s ‘angelic falsetto’ it really is impressive. Is it something they put in the Carlsberg these days? There are parts of the song where, if I knew nothing about them at all I might have thought I was listening to a soprano. But you can always tell eventually just like you can usually identify a lady boy in the midst of a gaggle of girls on Walking Street Pattaya.
The song is about getting love ‘back on track’ – about dancing and making out again with the one you went out of your way to get in the first place, reminding yourself that you really shouldn’t take love for granted. Getting your crush back along with the mojo. The variation in the music and in Jonas’ vocal help reinforce the philosophy.
‘Crush’ is out on hfn, on February 3rd.
I see they have some live dates in Denmark later this year. I don’t know of anything planned for the UK right now.
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