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Blues Control - Puff

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Artist: Blues Control

Album: Puff

Label: Fusetron

Review date: May. 14, 2008

Blues Control is so easy to like. A relief, even. It’s tempting to think rock music is dead, but it’s here, in the guise of a band that calls itself blues that people say is noise. The duo, Lea Cho and Russ Waterhouse, do mantra melodies and heartbeats that make their jams pleasant and impossible to get a handle on. They record their records from live shows, but they process themselves live to sound like a recording. So Puff is a CD reissue of an out-of-print LP of a live show that sounded like a tape. Kapish?

The songs lack tangibility and float on streams of hiss. Cho plays keyboards and Waterhouse samples and all that stuff, but in silico they’re indistinguishable, like they’ve merged into a single body. In making psych glittery and new age, they turn dropping out inside-out. These aesthetics are without political reference, the loveliness no longer a relief from or counterpoint to dissent.

This is the first postmoderm music that I’ve heard that fully digests its references. Does owning the past that one never lived require cynicism? Cho and Waterhouse call Blues Control a joke, so maybe they can feel the ego inherent in what they’re doing and feign humility.

The best song on Puff, “Behind the Skies” is 50 years smooshed together by Doppler effect. Buzzsaw guitar riff, Bob Dylan harmonica, over and over until it decays.

By Josie Clowney

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