Blitz-poppers Blasé Splee are unveiling the fruits of their basement-bound, winter and spring-long, labor – their first full-length, Et Cetera gets its own shin-dig show, Saturday at Small’s in Hamtramck.
“We're really happy,” wrote keyboardist Jonathan Berz on the band’s blog, “that we've been able to spend so much time working on this project completely on our own in the house where (founding members) Mike (Frelick) and Carl (Larson) live…” The sound is the happy hurried middle ground of jangly sunny 60’s pop, sweaty party pounders, circusy romps and greasy Americana – complete with raspy vocals with way more charm than those Hold Steady-types, buzzsaw guitars that fit in with any indie-brit-pop revivalists and golden sonorous pianos that warm the soul.
"It's feels like we finally have a written record of what we do; I've never been so pleased with the outcome of a recording,” said Michael Frelick, who started the band with Carl Larson in 06 (with Jonathan Berz, David Wisbiski, Thomas Tesnow rounding out the quintet thereafter). Larson added “[Et Cetera] is easily the most amazing thing I’ve ever been apart of…”
Post punk guitars meet bearded 70’s road trip rock, relentless shambolic drums and lots of organs and pianos pushing it all forward. The moods range from playful tempo-accelerators prime for this almost bluesy-romp ("What I Want") to waltz-wrung rips where the organs and guitars burn together in harmony before falling into this rolling rhythm and spiraling organ solo ("When We Kiss"). That gristly-yet-twangy/whine harmonies of "Hold My Baby" set this weird spastic country-vibe, over a relentless drum beat and an overall vibe, shouted choruses, ripping guitars and nah-nah-nah vocals, that seems to slide close to falling off the rails but still hangs on...Seemingly aware (and embracing) of the wide arc of flavors present, musically, genrely, what-have-you, throughout Et Cetera, they follow the shambolic huzzah of "Hold My Baby" with a quieted acoustic led moonlit-walker of a ballad ("All of it All"). Indeed, Et Cetera rakes in a lot of different moods, theatric, freewheeling, country, indie, dance, folk...which may either dizzy the listener or invite a barrage of critiques for each different hat. But the flipside is that Blasé Splee are a band that with eclectic genre tastes for an equally dispositioned listener - but the main thing to remember is that many of the tunes here are simply fun jams.
Bring in some brass with the piano for what seems like some enchanting last-call tapper ("Praise") and it ends up burning into some gotho-space-rock shredder that quiets to give room for some fine string accompaniment. And ahh, the dreamy atmospheric guitar waver into the soft (at first) bluesy ballad "Right Where You Belong" which, much like in every song, unfurls and spreads into something bigger and wilder towards the end.
The Et Cetera release show is rounded out by Sh! The Octopus and Macrame Tiger, with DJ Bearclizzyawaw. First 100 people at the door get a free CD.