There’s something aesthetically pleasing about the fact that Bloodnstuff bandmates Ed Holmberg and Dylan Gouert used to be in a band called Economy Team. The pair have an obvious shared talent for filing the rough edges away and using a minimal amount of tools create a big, purposeful sound.
Describing what Bloodnstuff isn’t is almost a more direct route to discovering what they actually are. They’re not metal, though the utilize some of the genre’s mathmatic, jagged riffs; they’re much cleaner and more precise than stoner rock, despite the fact that their majestic material could easily be used to score a film about wizards, scrolls, and mountainous landscapes; and though Holmberg clearly knows how to craft a tight hook, they’re much heavier than the average pop or indie rock act. What we’re left with is an efficient, hard-hitting style of good ‘ol fashioned rock ‘n’ roll that would have found a comfortable home on the Amphetamine Reptile label in the ’90s and whose contemporary brethren are bands like Buildings, Seawhores, and Gay Witch Abortion.
Bloodnstuff rock hard, and with great intention. And after a few years of drafting songs, throwing them out, drafting new songs, and finally beginning to play live, Bloodnstuff have settled on a batch of tunes that they like enough record and release. Bloodnstuff is the fruit of several cycles of self-editing and live labor, and it was worth the wait.
The title track (which makes me giddy for the simple fact that it’s Bloodnstuff’s song “Bloodnstuff” off the record Bloodnstuff) is one of the duo’s most recognizable tunes to date, and is followed quickly by another live favorite, “Fire Out at Sea.” It says something about Holmberg’s songwriting that these tunes sound immediately familiar to anyone who has seen the band perform, and the propulsive energy of their live show transaltes effectively. The poppiest tracks on the album are probably “It’s Fun to be a Kid” and “One Day Roses,” both of which have crossover potential and could easily appeal to the 93X crowd, while “Diet Cola” veers into early ’00s indie rock territory.
My only complaint with the record is that the sound is so precisely defined that Bloodnstuff starts to feel redundant by the closing tracks, especially with the catchiest songs grouped at the beginning and middle of the record, and seems most enticing in short bursts. The same could be said for their live show; one of the best sets I’d ever seen the band play was on Sunday night at Nick and Eddie, where they showed up unannounced, played their four best songs back-to-back, and loaded out. But for a debut, especially, this album has little filler and numerous shining moments.
Bloodnstuff were ranked sixth in last fall’s Picked to Click poll and named one of this year’s Best New Bands by First Avenue, and their album will probably get some requisite mentions this week because of those accolades. But one gets the sense that Holmberg and Gouert aren’t really dazzled by those nominations, and to write them off as a buzz band would do a great disservice to this band’s musical accomplishments to date. Bloodnstuff is a fine record and one of my favorites to be released in the Twin Cities this year.
Bloodnstuff play a CD-release show with Marijuana Deathsquads and the STNNNG on Friday, April 6, at the Triple Rock Social Club. 18+. Info here.