Unblinded’s self-titled EP kicks into gear with a brilliantly nostalgic pop-punk energy and pace.
Chemicals kick things off, presenting a fast-acting power-chord progression, raw drums and an equally raw vocal line that lays bare a deeply reflective, poetic string of lyrics.
While the production is somewhat minimal, leaving the leading voice lingering a little boldly front and centre, it’s a quality worth appreciating at this time in our lives. The band don’t hide behind effects or filler, instead they allow their songs to stand tall on the strength of the writing, passion, and precision alike. The latter half even brings in a second vocalist, which really helps drive home that energy and intensity for the final run of the song’s hook.
Not My Home follows and the mood is immediately different. A keys-led ambiance and a light shuffle of a drum introduce a dreamlike calm, suggestive of an equally reflective but perhaps more personal hit of songwriting. Vocal oohs gather momentum and rise up together, before the grit and raspy expression of that leading voice returns to prove its worth as a driving factor.
The emotion here is strong, the song calling out, longing for relief and connection. The soundscape works in unison with this desire, delivering a sense of escapism that perfectly well suits this kind of late-night deep thinking. I’m reminded of Brand New from back in the day, the structure of the song keeps things interesting and showcases a few different vocal styles.
Need You calms the room again, a simple guitar riff, the strum of an acoustic – an ‘in the moment’, live sound that connects for its purity and intimacy. Passion and desperation unite for a song that’s partly inspired by early Thirty Seconds to Mars, and partly of its own MTV unplugged-style intention and aura. That female vocal helps brighten up the latter half again, a welcomed dynamic that seems to be a strong calling card for the band.
Completing the project, maintaining a notably considerate, pondering vibe every step of the way, A Thousand Miles takes on a little more electronic production to briefly offer a soothing ambiance, which permits you room to take in everything that came to pass. Soon enough, power chords return, both vocals kick into gear, rhythm and poetry intertwine, and a vast sense of rising anticipation sweeps through – before the ultimate and powerful drop to the hook prompts you to swiftly turn up the volume and escape into the moment entirely.
A big finish, and a definite highlight. Unblinded will likely be a band to watch out for if and when festival season comes back around in the next year or so. In the meantime, turn this one up loud.