Blaenavon’s debut album is a collection of inner thoughts and intense feelings. Written within a span of 5 years between the ages of 15-20, ‘That’s Your Lot’ is a “musical and emotional journey”, taking the listener on a voyage of familiarity and sentiment.
The album waxes and wanes between themes of darkness and light. According to vocalist, Ben Gregory, “finality is a massive theme”. Closing in just under an hour, the album, ‘That’s Your Lot’ leaves the listener emotional, hopeful and enlightened.
Peppered with Blaenavon’s signature “oohs” and “aahs”, the record is nothing short of transcendent. Echoing the fashion of The Smiths, ‘That’s Your Lot’ is simultaneously melancholic and uplifting. Regardless of the genres and styles the record tends to bounce between, Blaenavon’s signature imprint is upon each and every track.
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The first half of the album seems lighter, more upbeat and cheerful than the second half. Its soaring, singalong choruses and catchy tunes may give the impression of merry, lighthearted tracks. However this is not exactly the case. This can be heard on the singles ‘Let’s Pray’ and ‘Lonely Side’. Both songs boast cheerful melodies and upbeat vibes. However, these melodies tend to distract one from both songs’ much darker lyrics.
The record also plays on the themes of love and hope on tracks like ‘Let Me See What Happens Next’. The song is a simple one, stripped down to just a piano and vocals. It evokes feelings of fondness and peace, as well as an underlying sense of sadness. This song acts as a transition between the songs in the album, easing into the much darker tracks.
Proving that the band can dabble in different genres and musical styles is ‘Alice Come Home’. The track is six and a half minutes of pure tension and emotion. The buildup of heavy drums, and haunting cooing and coaxing is hair raising. The explosion of the melody and instruments is massive.The song’s repetitive lyrics give the band room to show off their flawless instrumental skills.
The record takes a cheerful turn with’Prague ’99′, a sanguine tune that echoes the sound of Explosions In The Sky. The track conveys much needed feelings of hope after the bleaker half of the album.
Helping to close the album off on a slightly cheerful note is the penultimate track, ‘Swans’. The 8 minute epic was written by Greogory at only 16 years of age. Its reassuring lyrics and comforting vocals are infused with emotion. With its cinematic characteristics, echoing vocals, anthemic drumbeats and ever present tension, ‘Swans’ is an utter masterpiece.
‘That’s Your Lot’ gives life to unspoken thoughts and emotions. It acknowledges life’s lowest points and offers hope for the days to come. The record was written at the time and age at which one feels “things most intensely”. This intensity of emotions can be seen and heard in the record’s tracks as they shift between joy and melancholy rapidly, not settling on a single emotion for long. The record personifies emotion, mirroring the thoughts and thinking process of a youthful mind. ‘That’s Your Lot’ reminds the listener that no matter what they are going through in the moment, to quote Ben Gregory, “you’ll overcome it, and there will be a second record and everything will be fine”.
‘That’s Your Lot’ is available now via Transgressive Records and Canvasback Music.