ALBUM REVIEW: Bleech “Nude”

In 1999 Newport indie rockers unleashed their second studio album, “Yesterday Went Too Soon”. While it may not have garnered the commercial success of 2001’s “Echo Park”, it more than left its mark on this music lovers ears. A less poppy sound filled the record and recalled Nirvana’s more tender moments. All of a year later, Australian sibling rock act Killing Heidi unleashed the pop-rock wonder that was “Reflector”. Brimming with singalong choruses and head-moshing moments, “Reflector” made little impact in the UK but remains at the top of my CD stack today.

But this isn’t a review of either “Yesterday Went Too Soon” or “Reflector”, so I should quickly correlate the two with the stunning debut from London based trio Bleech. “Nude” is instant. Boasting the tender touch of Feeder and the pop rock sensibility of Killing Heidi, it could be said that Bleech have crafted the perfect mutation of two of this reviewer’s favourite records.

Bleech manage the almost impossible on their debut, each track switches pace and attitude yet the record as a whole is extremely cohesive. From the shrug along guitar led pop of opener “Weirdo” to the lush balladry of “Flowerhands” and Green Day riot of “Holiday”, Bleech approach each dynamic change with passion and commitment.

Though “Nude” is not without its stand-out tracks (the simple structured of “Flowerhands”, the vitriol of “I Wanna Be Me” and the stomp of “Dancing Without You”), the ten track collection by-passes the use of fillers and happily delivers ten tracks all worthy of your attention.

Bleech may have a sound that easily compared to others, yet their impassioned delivery sets them apart from the bulk of upcoming acts. While “Nude” may not be the record to break them into the big league, it will certainly garner a lot of praise and attention.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

FEATURE: Lucinda Belle “Luck Is Opportunity Meets Dedication”

“I had to literally just ask myself a question, “Do you think it’s ok to eat the mould off the bread?” But I don’t know why, I just feel the need for a bit of mould in my life.”

It is early-ish Saturday morning and Lucinda Belle is rushing about doing her chores. She has not had time to get to the shops and her bread has gone mouldy, but she needs her once a year dose of Marmite and so what she has will have to do. As Lucinda munches between sips of tea she tells us all about how playing harp for Robbie Williams has led to her leaving the family launderette.

So, what is to be – the music or the dirty washing?

Well basically, the launderette business is up for sale, so I am not finished with that really. My feeling about the launderette is that I’ll be sad to see it go but I am extremely excited about pursuing my career in music. It is something I have been waiting for all my life.

“Luck is opportunity meets dedication.”

The record deal came about because I was working with Robbie Williams on the Electric Proms. I was playing the harp and backing singing. I was asked to do that through Trevor Horn. It was just one of the most amazing experiences ever.

So the story goes, I got spotted by Fearne Cotton and Greg James and they asked me to go on their show. I ended up sort of featuring as a harpist and doing lots of cover versions, like Green Day and Elbow, on the radio. I got spotted by Universal and that’s when it all sort of really took off. But my theory on life is that luck is opportunity meets dedication.

How do you choose which songs to rework?

I don’t really do covers unless I think I can impose who I am onto them. I don’t think there is any point in doing it otherwise. So, how do I pick my covers? I guess what I tend to do is I speak to people who’s opinions I respect. I am always open to ideas when people say how about you cover this or that.. Then I also go into songs that I really like. I am giving you the whole detail here. I download the lyric. I break it down. I listen to the song. Then I just attempt to do them on my own. If I feel I am moving the song away from the original in my direction, then I will go with it. If I don’t and I feel it is too close to the original then I won’t do it. I want to put my stamp on something otherwise I won’t really do it.

What has been your favourite so far?

The Lady Gaga (‘Telephone’) one is actually my favourite one for two reasons. Firstly I am crazy about Lady Gaga, I just love her. I love all her songs and I just love what we came up with. The version that I did just seemed to work. When I am doing things like that, I am just consumed by it. I do it, then I go back and I think ‘how did I do that?’

Your forthcoming album “My Voice & 45 Strings” also features original compositions. What are your inspirations?

Firstly I draw my inspiration from ordinary everyday life experiences. I have to say that I got some of my ideas from sitting in my launderette watching the machines go round. There is a kind of rhythm to that. Other than that, I draw on the emotional kind of thing. The album is about indecision, it’s about love, it’s about loss and about hope. It is basically love in different guises. It is sentimental. It is all of those things and they represent who I am as a person. So I think one could safely assume that I am a bit of a romantic.

“I was trying to run away from who I was.”

What made you choose the harp?

I clearly have to blame my parents for that, but I will do is give you a big reveal; so far in my interviews I have swapped parents and given them both credit. In my first interview I think I gave it to my Mum, then my Dad called me up and got really upset. So in my second interview I gave it to my Dad. The truth is that they suggested playing the harp when I was about six. So I went along to this woman’s house for some lessons and it was amazing. The rest is history. I wanted to be a ballerina, saw the harp and fell in love.

When I was in my early twenties I was experimenting with music and got really into r’n’b which was trendy at the time. I was a bit scared to use the harp, because I didn’t see the harp as central to that. I think in a way I was trying to run away from who I was. It was really refreshing when I came back to the harp. It felt really comfortable to suddenly know who I was in life, which is a harpist and a songwriter.

Did the identity crisis help you realise you wanted to perform?

That was genetic. It was written in the stars when I was born. There was no other question in my life about what I wanted to do. There was never another ambition about what I could do. It’s kind of like playing the harp, which is just a part of who I am.

Words: Jeremy Williams Image: David Tett

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