A new name, a new sound and most importantly … a new album; welcome to the crazy, up-side down, ever changing world of Newcastle born ‘Beth Jeans Houghton’ aka ‘Du Blonde’.
The transformation from ‘Beth Jeans Houghton’ to ‘Du Blonde’ may seem to some to be an unnecessary one. However, within a few minutes of listening to album number two ‘Welcome Back to Milk’ you get it. This is a complete re-incarnation of not only the name but the music as well. The new name and sound are tied together. The change of music is so different a change of name seems a necessary one.
And what of the new sound? Well, the indie salvo of the artist’s debut LP ‘Yours Truly Cellophane’ has been replaced with an altogether more edgy, sometimes dark, sound. ‘If You’re Legal’, ‘Black Sound’ and ‘Hard to Please’ would have been out of place under the artists previous moniker. However, here they formulate to create elements of pent up aggression containing frenzied drumming, snarling vocals and cacophonous guitars. It’s an impressive sound and more to the point a wonderful re-invention.
But it’s not all bang-crash-wallop. Entwined within the noise are moments of quite breath-taking beauty. So good is ‘Hunter’ that you fumble for the repeat button at an almost unhealthy regularity. It contains a glorious melody and chorus that strangely makes this one of the stand-out tracks on the LP. It’s probably the only time the artist slightly revisits LP number one but it offers a breather before the newer, louder sound returns.
Clearly ‘Mind is on My Mind’ – featuring Samuel T. Herring, is the showcase track on the album. It’s already been released to a flurry of positive reviews and simply oozes likability. It’s thunderous drums and quick lyrics combine perfectly with Herrings wonderful voice.
I would suggest that this new incarnation will have a lot more legs than its precious one. Sure there are a few ‘Fiona Apple’ moments in here but ‘Du Blonde’ does it with more grit.
The track-listing for ‘Welcome Back to the Milk’ is as follows…
‘Chips to Go’
‘After the Show’
‘If You’re Legal’
‘Hard to Please’
‘Four in the Morning’
‘Mind is on My Mind’ – featuring Samuel T. Herring