Pip Blom's second album Welcome Break avoids the dreaded jinx that often comes along with a band's sophomore effort. It tightens and refines the gritty alt-rock sound of their debut, giving more room to the pop hooks without sanding off all the rough edges. Pip Blom -- the person -- wrote a bracing batch of empowering indie rock tunes, and she and the band knock them out with muscular restraint. Pip and her brother Tender wield the guitars with surgical precision, deftly balancing chugging rhythm strumming with slashing lead lines throughout while the rhythm section pushes them with minimalist power. Many of the songs feel like they could have been on the group's debut Boat: The moody rocker "12," the insistent "Easy," and the angry, post punk-influenced "I Know I'm Not Easy to Like" all have the directness and drive of that album and they're just as good as anything found there, and maybe even more confident-sounding. This time around, there are some songs that have a lighter, less serious tone. "You Don't Want This" is a galloping indie pop song that springs to joyous life in the choruses, "Keep It Together" sounds like a lost Bettie Serveert classic thanks to the giant hooks and Pip's languid vocals, and "Trouble in Paradise" is a nice slice of bummer pop with some fine background singing by Tender. The changes are subtle, and even though the group's sound is a little less thrillingly raw here, they make up for it with stranger melodies and vocals. Overall, a solid effort from a band with the potential to make a great record someday.
Welcome Break Review
by Tim Sendra