The Bloakes: Kanye Westboro Baptist Church

The Bloakes –a Swedish band whose primary goal seems to be pumping out old-school rock made accessible for today’s youth. The band manages to balance various styles to create a pretty universally enjoyable listen. Their latest EP, Kanye Westboro Baptist Church is a good handshake –a solid introduction to some great music.

With a title like Kanye Westboro Baptist Church, and a cover that portrayed the persona of some innocent pranksters, The Bloakes had me nervous –what in the world could this EP have in store? Despite their demeanor, the Swedish band isn’t interested in playing around so much as just straight up playing some great tunes.

Poppy and trippy, reverb and rhythm, guitar riffs to make your knees weak –a dash of sentimentality? Kanye Westboro Baptist Church starts off with “The Bright Side,” a fairly solid yet convoluted track that sets the rest of the EP up just fine.

The Bloakes incorporate a variety of influence into a soulful performance –worshiping each of their ancestors through the decades with psychedelic riffs, mixing in that indie twist reminiscent of recent explorations in blues and rock (think Black Keys), and then performing in such a way that the music becomes engulfing and fulfilling –Kanye Westboro Baptist Church is a sneak attack on your eardrums. The EP plays out a lot like European psychedelia in that there’s a lot of “this and that” –the eclectic mixture of influence balances itself out into a very wiggly, very cool trip.

The Bloakes see their high points throughout the EP, distributed well, tucking away some real special gems of songs here and there. The first awe-inspiring moment, “For A Better End,” is The Bloakes doing blues-rock. Their music becomes more solemn and the melodies flow so beautifully and soulfully. The guitars work in conjunction with the vocals so perfectly that they seem to interweave and blend texture into a perfect jam. The Bloakes continue to impress throughout the next few tracks, but their closer seals the deal. “Moscow Ages” is a slow roll –a buildup. The band gives off an accessible enough chord progression and a fine-enough vocal line but as the song goes on, the riffs build, and the guitars are let off the leash more and more. It’s a little typical but not unforgivably so –if anything it keeps things cool. The climax of the song includes a cathartic jam. More and more the band builds it up, pushes the boundaries out further, and then ease –it’s over.

The Bloakes are killing it –in less than twenty minutes, they create a more convincing case for their music than some artists manage across a full LP. These Swedes have it figured out! Mixing in past and present while jamming with all their psychedelic, free-loving hearts –Kanye Westboro Baptist Church is a tight listen, a great EP, and just damn enjoyable.

Doctor’s recommendation: if you think rock is dead, listen to The Bloakes. Kanye Westboro Baptist Church is a surprising listen, a revival of all that sweet European psychedelia, levelled out with the more likable traits of modern rock, blues, and indie music.

Rating: 8.0/10

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