First things first, The Blet Project, in the shape of singer, Maisie Hutt, have a singer of rare quality: reminiscent of the slightly droll, wry vocalisations of Roisin Murphy (and her ilk) but, really rather unique nonetheless.
Is the music there to back it up? Thankfully, yes: this is a groove-heavy debut that thumps about in a most appealing way; a mix of detached and one-step-removed lyrics with take me to the dancefloor rattles bursting to get in on the action; it’s not necessarily a new trick, but, it works; bass attraction with a slightly absent, melancholy edge.
That mournful side carries over into slower, more introverted, songs like ‘Grace’s Prelude’ – they certainly have a way with a title – but even that chucks in a, frankly rude, bassline underneath the gorgeous strings: it’s an intriguing, teasing proposition; thoughtful but quite thrilling.
Most thrilling amongst the more forceful action is standout ‘The Anthem’ – it may not be as subtle as others here but, with its initial ominous riff and then all systems go syntherama, it’s a bludgeoning but breezy battering ram over the head; even the faintly ludicrous guitars that elbow their way in make a kind of sense… just about.
That roundly abused lead guitar, being so borderline at times, is perhaps the only misstep across the album: though considered and restrained on tracks like ‘Eight Till Ten’ it runs riot at times and depending on one’s mood, it’s either incongruously delightful in its occasional wandering into Brian May solo territory… or should be roundly scowled at and told to cut it out.
Hard not to be beguiled, however, and it’s pretty top notch all round; it’s not perfect and stutters with tone occasionally, but, as an introductory statement to the world, Now Live is confident stuff: sweeping, emotive but within itself, the sound of a band not quite fully formed in some ways, but fully entitled to feel brassy at their ability to drag you to the dancefloor… and possibly give you things to muse upon along the way.
To use that, dreadful, hackneyed phrase, The Blet Project make intelligent pop: they have pretence but an utterly shameless attraction to a killer hook… and more’s the better for it.
Words: Vosne Malconsorts