I’ve been a fan of Blip Blip Bleep ever since their debut EP, Wireless, came out back in late 2006. The main architect of this 3-piece synth-dance-rock outfit is Sean Han, whose laid back persona belies the stomping, dancing, singer who steps out on stage to front this band at various clubs around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
BBB’s sophomore release, Alarm Clock Snooze Bar Get Up is a 6-song concept EP. The album gives us a Han’s eye view of a day in the life of a New York City 20-something (or perhaps a 30-something… Because, after all, 40 is the new 30, which makes 30 the new 20, I suppose).
The production is very similar to that of their last EP, which makes sense since the band reunited with Nic Hard, who mixed Wireless. Mr. Hard gets a big thumbs up for managing to successfully fold all the various elements of BBB’s songs (vocals x 4, drums + programmed percussion, guitars x 3, bass, synths^4) together into solid, cohesive tracks. But despite the clean, compressed feel of the album, there are still lots of little sonic treats, revealed only upon listening through a good pair of earphones or speakers in a quiet room.
The pounding beat behind BBB’s sound is driven by Brett Thompson on drums. This guy is no joke. Not only does he keep perfect time with Han’s synth programing, but weaves in enough variation and ornaments to signal to the listener that, yes, despite the danceability, there is a human back there playing drums. Completing the trio, Sarah Lee lends her coy, capable vocals to the album, giving it an extra bit of depth that was missing on Wireless. Her voice blends well with Han’s and serves well to thicken the vocal textures in sections such as the anthemic bridge of “Okay Lover.” (I will readily admit, though, that I’m a sucker for repeated Heys and Ohs). As a side note, Lee left BBB in mid 2008 and was replaced by Alexa Danner, vocalist, synth-ist, and former bandmate of Brett.
Musically, we hear much of the same thing we heard on the first EP– Not that this is bad thing, mind you. BBB is very good at what they do, and we like it. The songwriting is definitely more developed than it was on Wireless. “Da Me Cinco” shows his propensity for subtle humor while songs like “Okay Lover” maintain an irresistible sing-a-long sensibility. However, the relentless, poppy, hoppy nature of the music leaves this reviewer wondering if he’d be able to handle more than 6 songs in one go. By the end of the 5th track, I find myself hoping for something a little more down tempo or perhaps a stripped down/acoustic tune. Perhaps BBB will start pushing more boundaries with their first full-length release…? Regardless, there is much to be enjoyed here.
“Alarm Clock Snooze Bar Get Up” – BBB’s version of “Working For The Weekend.” And who doesn’t like Loverboy?
“Da Me Cinco” – “So da me cinco, you crazy kid… and I’ll da YOU cinco, right back again…”
“Okay Lover” – The synths reach a frenzied climax in the bridge as Sean croons: “Tomorrow we’ll take back the hearts that we stole…” Just awesome.
“Ctrl-Alt-Del” – Realistic (“The subway smells like piss”) and optimistic (“This year let’s believe in luck”) at the same time.
Verdict: Definitely worth a purchase and several (hundred?) listens.
— Review by Eugene
Blip Blip Bleep will play at Bowery Ballroom on June 5th. Buy tickets here.