Dead Heart Bloom
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With tracks reminiscent of classics such as Urban Hymns by The Verve and Ladies and Gentlemen… by Spiritualized, the ten new songs recorded by Dead Heart Bloom mark their full realization as a band. These new songs serve as a logical, yet more mature, follow-up to their prior releases, including their album Chelsea Diaries, which was nominated for the Shortlist Prize alongside acclaimed works by Wilco, Arcade Fire and Spoon.
Recorded and produced by Carlos Anthony Molina, of Mercury Rev, in Kingston, New York, the song collection meshes visionary lyrics and dreamy melodies with stirring lead vocals and expertly-mixed harmonies. Coupled with stomping drums and epic guitars and strings, the songs swell and soar at all the right moments. Molina’s production effort with Dead Heart Bloom is notably inspired by his recording experiences and friendship with iconic producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Tame Impala, MGMT).
Dead Heart Bloom is comprised of songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Boris Skalsky, guitarist Paul Wood and drummer Jason Molina. Discussing work with the band, Anthony says, "I find that we had a lot of the same early rock & psychedelic/dream pop influences.” Regarding his production, he shares, “Producing a track like ‘Strange Ideas’ requires me to keep the most exciting element out in front, whether it's Boris' velvet vocal, the hyper Wurlitzer piano solo, or Paul's sea foam fuzzy guitars."
Critical references to the Beatles, David Bowie, Bends-era Radiohead and Pink Floyd, which have been used to describe Dead Heart Bloom’s earlier work, are also entirely fitting when describing the sound achieved by Molina and the band on the new songs.
"My favorite albums have always combined classic songwriting with cinematic atmosphere,” claims Wood. “Boris and I both have a natural inclination for big choruses and instrumental effects. This album is a great balance of live energy, sweeping arrangements and a Wall of Sound production we've been building up to over the past few years.
“Dead Heart Bloom was formed by Skalsky and Wood following the dissolution of their previous band, the Washington, DC-based Phaser. Having quickly captured the attention of the indie press and radio, Phaser honed their live act touring with such artists as Interpol, Super Furry Animals, BRMC and Longwave. Hand-picked by drummer Jimmy Chamberlin of Smashing Pumpkins to perform in the touring band for his project Skysaw, Boris and Paul further honed their live act on stage, all the while vowing to solidify the Dead Heart Bloom lineup.
Enter former Longwave drummer Jason Molina. Formally joining the band in the winter of 2011, Molina has been integral to the writing and recording of the new set of songs, adding a rhythmic backbone and notable percussive depth to the material. He explains, "I was first struck by the intimacy of Boris' vocals, and then the fantastically classic melodies hit me. It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.”
Skalsky was raised in a Ukrainian household filled with music. His mother was a classical pianist, and his father a musical polymath, who, as Skalsky says, “sees no difference between a Schubert lieder and a Beatles song.” In addition to Dead Heart Bloom, Skalsky is also a classically-trained composer, whose works have premiered in the U.S. and abroad, most recently in a retrospective concert in Washington, D.C. He reflects, "As long as I can remember, I've felt the pull of many musical styles, ultimately being in bands all my life. This most recent song collection is the first that I think truly captures the expansiveness of all the genres that I love."
Wood fell in love with the guitar (and guitar effects) as a teenager. He quickly became obsessed with British indie labels such as Rough Trade, Factory and 4AD, eventually working backwards through the early glam of T. Rex, Bowie and Eno and into late Sixties Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Connecting with Skalsky proved to be a perfect sonic match, and their songwriting partnership has continually evolved, culminating in the ten inspired tracks the band have recorded.
Looked at as whole, the new tracks are a testament to the disappearing craft of album-making. With this refreshing combination of classic songwriting and deeply memorable hooks, Dead Heart Bloom reset the blueprint for analog emotions in a digital world.