Mark James Hammond & the Slender Blind are a recording project from Gateshead in the North East of England. The latest album”Cast Off” from MJH & TBS is the first release in about 4 years. With this album Hammond says that he explores the impact that five years of training to become a Psychotherapist has had on his life.
In 2021 MJH & TSB finished recording, “Cast Off”, which sees another tangential shift into a hybrid of heavy rock and shoegaze. Each song chronicles the narratives lived and the narratives rejected. Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell are chief influences whilst musically the band evolves from the Dream Pop of their debut to explore heavier tones.
An album with good story line should always be appreciated, and in addition to that, an album with great lyrics and music should also be appreciated. The story line behind this album is already something to be desired, MJH & TSB take you back to the 90s with real heavy, grunge type music.
“Cast Off” starts with “Night Hag” which is instantly dark and distorted, you feel very vampiric and like you have transported to Transylvania. “Night Hag” isn’t the only song that gives off that sort of vibe. “Apropos of One” gets you in the mood to close your eyes and zone out to the song.
All the songs except one are five minutes or longer, they really let you marinate in their songs. None of these songs end to soon, they keep you wanting more and that’s exactly what Mark James Hammond & the Slender Blind do….they give you more.
“Kill Yr Darlings” is the shortest song from the album, it starts off almost acoustic with just some guitar and vocals. That’s how it stays, MJH & TSB gives your brain a chance to slow down and refresh before you finish off the album. This slower song shows a sweeter and more angelic side of the group.
The slowness doesn’t last long because the next song “Tabula Rasa” is super heavy….they really outdid themselves with this song and with “Yours to Keep”. Two songs that are definitely worth headbanging to. As the album starts to come to an end with “He Likes Vonnegut”, the instrumentals in the beginning will get your brain thinking.
While this song plays you will have many thoughts going in your head, one of them being how Mark James Hammond & the Slender Blind just took you on a journey of a lifetime. You will instantly add all of your favorite songs from them to any playlist you can think up. They will become a favorite band of yours.
Written by Jaye Maverick
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