Blind Signs – ‘Led By The Blind’ EP
Blind Signs – Isle Of Wight, England, United Kingdom.
Based in Ryde on the Isle Of Wight, Blind Signs produce a sound somewhere between Alternative Rock, Punk and a sweet, sweet Heineken. I actually have a bottle of Heineken in front of me as I put pen to paper, so to speak. If the review takes a turn for the worse then its due to a beer… or 6.
With Influences including The Computers, Hot Water Music, Modest Mouse, Rage Against the Machine and of course, Heineken, the 4-piece have a unique sound and seems to fit most line ups. Something I witnessed live back in March. Blind Signs were on the bill with a Deathcore/Metalcore band *shudder*; whose name I have forgotten as I was mostly located at the bar (big surprise there), and local Hardcore Punk/Metal heavyweights, Dead Town Nothing (check them out here), who, incidentally, after killing their headline slot referred to the Blind Signs boys as, ‘their favourite Island band’. Which – with a scene as varied as it is – is definitely not a negative.
Last year the band released a free, 4 track EP titled, Led By The Blind, I had a brief conversation with frontman Louis Jenkins both a while ago at the Isle Of Wight Festival and earlier this week about what the EP mean’t to himself and his bandmates. Here’s a few words:
‘The entirety of the EP is mostly concerning the fight against being held back by the people above you. Breaking through boundaries and becoming both yourself and a progressive part of society. A society that is kept down by those at the top – ‘The Blind’ – and those who despite illusion and promise, don’t listen. ‘Led By the Blind’ means being led by people that have no clue what they are doing, to put it bluntly’.
Strong themes from a young band. Without having a political rant (as much as I’d love to), to question and simply wonder why this or that happens in this day and age is paramount. It is a democracy, and as it isn’t Orwell’s 1984, you have the right to free speech. The EP itself covers the aforementioned theme as well as the regret of pushing things too hard, not giving up and living for the moment in regard to your aspirations. Here’s Musically Fresh’s review of Led By The Blind:
1. A Brain I Can Borrow – It’s always a good thing in my book to begin a record with a fast track to get the ear receptacles fed and the head bobbing. Track one achieves this well, showing the bands Punk streak. Jenkin’s voice is low and gruff but he can sing well at speed, adding a harder edge to the bands sound. Overall, the rhythm section is maintained well by Sean Warren’s bass and Toby Jenkins’ drums, allowing the elder Jenkins to add a gritty rhythm guitar in support of Craig Martin’s precise notes on the lead.
‘So there’s a better place, filled with the love nor hate, but if that’s the case then why cant we just go, we are not that sure what lies beyond the door…’ The song tackles the process of death and how it can affect those who cant afford to prolong life, while those who can afford machines and extended life live in peace. The extent to which this could reach is also pondered, what if we get to an extent where we can live on through machines and it CAN only be afforded by the rich? Abstract in method maybe, but track 1 certainly makes a point.
2. Kevin – Longer in duration and much slower in tempo, Blind Signs show off what they can do on a more Rock-like spectrum. A slow, looming bass with raspy, high pitched notes all played before a few notes hovering above in the verses, the vocals are more relaxed but still carrying somewhat of a trademark intensity. It’s hard to explain, but the song has a welcome heavy feel to it, without being a remotely heavy track.
‘Kevin’ is the personification of a substance that took it’s hold, and the song is the feeling of regret and the pull felt from addiction. Kevin, it seems, was a pain in the arse. When you drink ‘…chards from a plastic cup…’ until you stumble home and say to yourself ‘…I guess I’ve had too much, and I feel my head just die in a dream where I could fly, ’cause it seems so real to me, it was just my reality, of reality’ you have the sudden realisation and regret of actions caused by dear old Kevin and his friends. We all regret something, and if you’ve partied, or for lack of a better description, got fucked up, this is song is your tale.
3. Rise Too Fast – ‘I wish I’d done this’, ‘I wish I’d been here or there’ etc… Hindsight can be a troublesome thing, it has a habit of informing you whenever it can with no consideration that you wasted an opportunity. That you maybe be better off or comfortable where you are, but ‘what if?’ The point is made with the pace picked back up reminiscent with a sound of Hot Water Music, with lyrics also showing the skill of Louis Jenkin’s song writing:
‘We’re fucked for future politicians when kids take orders from a television, expect to take this right – right back to where you start – pick up the pace, change the gear, pretend you cannot hear, turn around strong – fucking drive into the clear or wait for it to pass, because you know that… If you hit the lights, you’ve gone too far. It’s not about where you were, because you fucked up where you are!’
4. The Devil Holds The Hounds – Blind Signs close the EP with a slower, slightly heavier track, which follows on from the previous with a similar theme. Jenkins wants to run, he wants to race onward to his goals, his destination, but the pace is too much for him. Searching for the reason, he realises and exclaims that his, ‘feet won’t leave the ground’. The Devil is holding the Hounds, holding him back and he is motionless. Again another backhanded way of tell those who are loomed over by discouragement to dart forward and let nothing get in their way.
Now, I must admit when I first heard this song last year, I wasn’t too keen, it lacked the intensity of the the other tracks, in particularly ‘Kevin’. However, after hearing the song live I was pleasantly surprised, and I now rank the song much higher – not the best on the album – but a good way to end a debut.
The only real issues with Led By The Blind would be down to the recording. Now anyone who has seen the band live will know that they are both heavier, faster and sound much more raw. Particularly, perhaps most importantly, in regard to the vocals. Their frontman’s voice although sounding good on the EP, seems as if some of the energy has been lost in the recording process. However, that said, MF give Blind Sign’s first EP an 8/10.
The band currently have new material penned, and having heard some live, you’re in for some tasty ear food. In regard to touring, they are and have been playing around the south coast of England. Forthcoming dates:
- 16th August – The Fawcett Inn, Portsmouth
- 20th September – Alma Arms, Portsmouth
And finally if you are interested in the EP you can get free, physical copies from the band at their gigs, as well as here as a download for free. Keep up with them on Facebook and most importantly, Stay Fresh.