Formed in the midst of the global pandemic, it is perhaps no surprise that Minato’s BLOOD PICK ME opted for a distinctly shoegaze/alternative sound. Despite drawing influence from ‘90s icons such as Sonic Youth and Nirvana, BLOOD PICK ME’s five members have produced a debut album in their own image and UNNORMAL is a record that is in perfect sync with these troubled times, but it also has a timeless quality that will sound fresh many years hence.
Opening with an electronic pulse, an android heartbeat, UNNORMAL gets off to a rather unsettling start with the majestic title track and soon wraps the listener in a ball of distorted sonics. Making good use of musical dynamics, this song (and indeed the whole album) juxtaposes loud sections with quiet, and dense walls of distortion with huge white spaces, each acting as a foil to highlight and enhance the other, and the effect is like stepping into a hall of mirrors with sound fractured in every direction. Inside this exist the vocals, waif-like and ghostly, they seem to emanate as if from another dimension and wend their way through the icy, glacial sound like a lost soul looking for a home.
The great thing about BLOOD PICK ME up is that they are a constantly evolving entity, and NEO SUICIDE adopts a more muscular posture. There’s more emphasis on the guitar here; fuzzed-up and dangerous, it cuts through the air like an electrical current, crackling and sparkling and hot to the touch. Yet, there’s always a focus on melody and tracks such as BEAT and IN SECRET take us in their warm embrace, the latter in particular, by employing a catchy electro beat, becomes hard to resist. The male and female vocals work well in tandem, sometimes at odds, at other times entwining, but always repositioning the listener and forcing us to reevaluate what we hear.
There’s a duality to the band that means they simultaneously attack your heart and head; this is music that makes you want to move your body (as all good rock music should), yet there’s also an element that resonates deep in your soul. This is most evident on All I Need; after lulling us to a dreamlike state with a softly spoken mantra, we are suddenly shocked out of our reverie by a blazing guitar bust that’s startling and stunning. This is an album that demands your full attention, you don’t put this on as background music; while it can be darkly ambient at times (such as on the cascading Apoptosis) UNNORMAL is a record that demands your full attention and no more so than on the snaking LOST CONTROL, an electrified closer that ensures BLOOD PICK ME won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Atmospheric and haunting, BLOOD PICK ME have created a unique sound which will transcend borders and cultures, and their debut album, UNNORMAL, should garner them some well-deserved global recognition.
2. NEO SUICIDE
5. IN SECRET
6. All I Need
7. Kiss Of Heaven
9. LOST CONTROL
The album is available on the major streaming services, such as Spotify , Apple Music and iTunes, but is also available via Bandcamp.