Blake Bliss claims to make music for the silent majority, but on the proof of his latest album, ‘Friend, Enemy, Stranger’, it would be far better if it was music made by the silent majority. The Canadian singer-songwriter/YouTube Vlogger shows almost no signs of imagination throughout the 50 slow, slow minutes of insignificance shown on this record, which is essentially just one similar disheartening acoustic song after another until the music finally meets its eventual end.
Dreary and bleak right the way through, it’s clear that Bliss has suffered some personal demons in his life as the ever-present nature of depressive thoughts is unavoidable amongst the random instruments that get tossed in occasionally. The feminine vocals aren’t much to be desired, despite the frailties in ability being subtly masked by talking instead of singing for the majority of the record in a ghost story-telling whispering style, like a cheap B-movie recorded under the stairs. It’s difficult to take seriously at any stage, as it seems to be the result of locking somebody in a primary school music room with a tape recorder.
The target recipient of this album must be kids with the same mindset as Blake himself, but listening to ‘Friend, Enemy, Stranger’ would simply be an insult to every other artist producing music in 2015. The musicianship is lacking and the outlook is far too bleak to be agreeable to actively sit down and want to listen to.
Bands successfully lean into an emo state of mind with negative music with personal stories and emotions, and use them powerfully to create fascinating and insightful art, but Bliss is way wide of the mark here and needs to get back to the drawing board. Put the camera down and pick up a Brand New CD to see how the masters do it, and go from there.
Written by Michael Heath (@MikeBeef)