It is like the most unexpected, yet slightly thrilling, weather. The forecast is displayed on the album cover using a tricksy and youthful approach. Alluding to what is to come in a handwritten, unedited, colorful font resembling the texture of crayons. The cover insert even has a game for you to play as you bide your time attempting to triumphantly rescue the captured twins from Queen Beaktapus (they made that up, not me), waiting for whatever is to come…
The time is now: a soft and subtle breeze brushes past as your game comes to an end. The vocals lack actual words, the instrumentation lacks drums, and still the combination is able to produce a delicate, soothing, and most pleasant wind. The breeze progressively gains speed, and it howls with pain, while regressing to a slow pace once before returning to the vocal expression of pain (or sounds of pain). The one time retreat, the super soft bridge, provides a potent and lingering calm that can seem eerie or wonderful. As the wind picks up speed (as “Skyscrapers” comes to a close) it progresses to something quite different. Something with a far different pace, a more brash and dark feeling accompanied and electrified by the muffled yet yelling wind (which has progressed from soft, to howling, to yelling).
As we head into mid-day (I would venture to guess around 12pm), the weather takes a turn for the unexpected; for the sun, for the fun. The wind is no longer howling, but consists of a slow afternoon breeze that is singing; singing in a wonderfully dreary, slightly drunken and careless sounding voice. The instruments accompanying such a delightful wind lack distortion and settle for a more indie pop feel, making you smile from ear to ear. The rest of the afternoon and evening is spent with the wind swirling and conjuring as many different patterns as it can. Sometimes moving with a brash howl and a pounding speed, other times it is more random. The more random movements are in conjunction with a staccato sounding background. At times the breeze even seems to talk to you, forgoing any attempt to sing, yell, or screech. As the day comes to a close the wind slows to a whisper with the air of an adorable lullaby (which is my favorite part of this album, “Spider” – the minimal aspects are perfect) as you await another day of unexpected weather.
Of This Blood lacks a consistent feel. It refuses to be labeled with one pace, rhythm or sound. I found that the harder, darker sounding songs – those with yelling – were slightly unappealing. “The Race” boasts of this yelling and cushions the blow with soft background vocals, with more morbid (not exactly deathly) instrumentation causing a creepy effect. While “When You Need” contains more of this vocal style I am not so keen on, the song has an undeniable rhythm. Most of the songs have great rhythm, of course some more than others. The vocals are as inconsistent as the guitar and drums patterns; ranging from a steady and strong singing voice, to a far from terrific whine/screech, to an unattached singing, and finally to rhythmic talking. The drums and guitar parts are hard to describe, but are quite great … impressive even. Ian has a great singing voice and it isn’t utilized as much as it should be, instead it is sneakily masked by said yelling and other antics. On a more interesting note, this album uses quite an array of instruments to parallel the selection of sounds such as: xylophones, trumpets, cellos, and an accordion among others. All in all it’s a good day; I saved the twins regardless of the sometimes curiously opposing weather.